Senior forward Anya Covington and the rest of the Wisconsin women's basketball team look to keep their winning streak alive when they welcome Michigan to the Kohl Center on Monday. The Badgers (3-5 Big Ten, 7-13 overall) are fresh off of a 78-72 road victory over Minnesota on Thursday and have won two straight games. Meanwhile, Michigan (5-3, 16-5) hopes to bounce back from their first home loss of the season, falling to Penn State 77-56 on Thursday.
Covington, who is the Badgers' second leading scorer this season with 10.2 points per game, has been filling up the stat sheet in the short winning streak. In the victory over the Golden Gophers, the senior forward had 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. And in last Sunday's win over Northwestern, Covington had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.
A trio of players has shouldered the scoring load for Wisconsin in recent games. Along with Covington, junior guard Taylor Wurtz and sophomore guard Morgan Paige both finished with double-digit points in both games of the winning streak. The three players had 58 of Wisconsin's 75 points against Northwestern and 55 of Wisconsin's 78 against Minnesota. On the season, the Badgers are only averaging 58.8 points per game, so the two recent offensive outbursts are an encouraging development.
The Badgers also played strong defense in both games of the winning streak. Wisconsin held Minnesota to 40 percent shooting and Northwestern to 31.1 percent shooting. Also, Wisconsin came out on top in the rebounding battle in both games.
Michigan comes into Monday's game with the second best scoring defense in the Big Ten, holding opponents to an average of 56.7 points per game. The Wolverines are led by senior guard Courtney Boylan and junior center Rachel Sheffer. Both players were instrumental in Michigan's 68-66 win at the Kohl Center over the Badgers last season. Sheffer had 22 points in the victory, and Boylan scored six of Michigan's final eight points in the game.
Bobbie Kelsey's team has taken its lumps in her first year as Wisconsin head coach, but three victories in the last five games indicate that her squad is turning the corner. As the season progresses, the players are gaining a fuller grasp of Kelsey's system and are getting more comfortable with running it on the court.
With their 3-5 conference record, the Badgers currently find themselves in ninth place in the conference. A win over Michigan would boost Wisconsin into a three-way tie for seventh place with rivals Iowa and Minnesota. Michigan is 5-3 in conference play, and a Wisconsin victory would be its first against a Big Ten team with a conference record over .500.
Tip-off for Monday's game at the Kohl Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.