Coming off a slump-busting win on Sunday, Wisconsin (4-7 Big Ten, 8-13 overall) will welcome No. 16 Iowa (8-2, 17-4) to the Kohl Center this Sunday in the annual Pink Game. The Badgers are looking to string together consecutive victories for the first time since December 28th.
After some offensive struggles early in Big Ten play, the Badgers have upped their game. Through their first seven conference games, they posted just 59.1 points per game. They’ve scored more than 70 points in each of their last four games, however, for an average output of 72.3 points per game. That bodes well for the Badgers, as the Hawkeyes give up an astounding 70.8 points every night, just 299th of 343 schools in the nation.
Junior guard Nicole Bauman has been the focal point of Wisconsin’s improved offensive attack, scoring 22.5 points per game over the past four games while shooting 64.8 percent from the floor. Most of her scoring has come from behind the 3-point line, where she’s shot a jaw-dropping 56.7 percent the past four games. She’ll need to continue her hot shooting for the Badgers to keep up with the Hawkeyes’ Top 10 offensive attack (79.7 points per game).
Wisconsin started Big Ten play shooting just 30.2 percent from the floor, hitting 40 percent just once in five games. Since then, however, they are shooting 43.6 percent and have eclipsed 40 percent in every game. That should carry over into the game on Sunday, as Iowa allows opponents to make 40.6 percent of their shots.
The Badgers did two things exceptionally well in their most recent win: rebound and get to the free-throw line. They grabbed 50 rebounds (17 offensive) and shot 27 free throws, both season highs. Though the Hawkeyes have taken more free throws than their opponents overall this year, they have been out-shot at the line in each of their four losses. They have also been outrebounded by an average of 12 per game in losses.
Speaking of rebounding, Cassie Rochel has drastically improved her rebounding of late. She’s grabbed at least nine rebounds in each of the last five games, averaging 10.6 per game. Rochel logged 11 rebounds and eight points in the Badgers’ last win. She also added three blocks, which put her in sole possession of second place on Wisconsin’s all time blocks list.
Iowa’s biggest area of weakness is their reliance on their high scoring offense. If they don’t put a lot of points on the board, they struggle a lot. They are just 1-3 in games where they fail to score at least 70 points, with their only win coming by 2 points against Michigan State. If the Badgers can slow this game down and get open looks from deep, they stand a good chance to take down this ranked opponent.