Head coach Jonathan Tsipis leads his Badger squad into a battle with an old foe Wednesday as the Atlantic-10’s Dayton Flyers come to town.
Tsipis, the former coach of George Washington, faced the Flyers 10 times during his tenure there. He won six of those games and should be familiar with this Dayton team.
Wisconsin (0-2) and Dayton (0-1) will both look Wednesday for that elusive first win of the season, as each has seen games they had in hand slip away.
“We play all different kind of styles,” said Tsipis. “I think every game we play in the non-conference we’ve gotta be able to take a learning experience from it.”
The Badgers are currently learning from the fourth quarter collapse against Saint Francis, as a lead of five with 3:57 left disappeared Sunday evening. But, lack of execution in passing the ball, leaving opportunities at the line and fouling the opposition gifted a win to the Red Flash, spoiling the home opener.
“If we can put more of those effort plays, both ends together, that’ll lead to success,” Tsipis said.
This has arisen already as a problem in the new era for the Badgers, as they saw an early lead against Winona State in exhibition play also squandered, forcing Wisconsin to stave off attacks on the defensive side.
They escaped that game, but it did not count; Sunday’s game counted, and they did not escape.
The Flyers had their own closeout troubles on the same Sunday evening against Quinnipiac. While winning the first three quarters to assume a five point lead going into the fourth, The Flyers’ offense was silenced in the final frame, managing to only scrounge up 12 points while Quinnipiac scored 20 to squeak out a three point road win.
The Flyers are not afraid to let the three fly, as they attempted 22 shots from beyond the arc in their game Sunday, which is something the Badgers had trouble defending against Saint Francis. Ten attempts alone came from sophomore Lauren Cannatelli, who didn't even start the game. She lurks as a weapon off the bench as the sixth player in the rotation.
When the Flyers miss, six-foot-five-inch senior center Saicha Grant-Allen will be in the paint ready to box out any Wisconsin defender in her way. She devoured loose balls on the glass last year en route to an average of 8.9 rebounds a game.
For the Badgers, redshirt senior center Kendall Shaw will look to neutralize her counterpart, as she stands only an inch shorter, and has become key to the Badger defense––both in her ability to rebound and disrupt shots, which comes from great court awareness and position.
Junior guard Cayla McMorris led the 100-point charge Sunday, igniting the flame with her career-high 31 points. She will look to carve up the Flyer defense like she did against Saint Francis with hard drives to the hoop that will get her to the free throw line.
Two teams desperate for a win will push each other Wednesday night in the Kohl Center, and it could shape up to be another shootout.