Head coach Jonathan Tsipis says he doesn't count losses, even as the Badgers’ losing streak was pushed to 10 last week. While it may seem like typical coach-speak, the Badgers (1-10 Big Ten, 6-18 overall) lost all memory of losing as they blitzed past Nebraska (1-11, 5-19) en route to a start-to-finish win, 82-56.
The win marks the first for Tsipis in Big Ten play, as the first-year UW coach finally broke through after failed comebacks against Ohio State and Indiana.
“I thought our group did a really good job to start the second half,” Tsipis said. “Not just because we went 6-0 and forced them to call a timeout, but just an attack mentality. Anytime time we felt like Nebraska made a run, we came down and got a really good shot.”
The Badgers rode the momentum of a 22-8 first quarter against the Big Ten’s worst scoring defense to jump-start their night. Stagnant offense, especially early, has hurt the UW in its comeback efforts.
Wisconsin had five double-digit scorers on the night, led by freshman forward Courtney Fredrickson’s 15 points and 10 rebounds. Including a double-double from redshirt senior forward Avyanna Young, who registered 13 points and 13 rebounds, the Badgers were able to establish themselves on the boards.
“I thought Courtney's aggressiveness was really, really key to putting the ball on the ground,” said Tsipis. “Everybody fed off Avy’s activity level on the glass.”
Not only did the Badger defense hold Nebraska to just eight points in the opening frame, but it held leading scoring Jessica Shepard to 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting. It was defense from Young, along with redshirt junior center Malayna Johnson and sophomore forward Marsha Howard, that stifled Nebraska’s dual threat.
“Everybody that guarded … I thought just worked,” said Tsipis. “And I thought our guards did a good job of trying to make it hard for her to see, whether it was help-side or on the ball.
“This isn't just trying to get a win; this is our group trying to get better,” said Tsipis. “They just had a great confidence about them. Very very proud of them, as I am everyday.”
The weight has been lifted off the shoulders of this young Badger team desperate for a win.
“If we keep playing like we did today, we can beat anybody,” said Young.