In what has become a long, challenging season for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team, redshirt senior forward Kendall Shaw is just grateful she has been able to come in and make an impact.
“It definitely means the world to me,” Shaw said. “I’m very thankful for the fact that [head coach Jonathan] Tsipis and the other coaches have given me this opportunity and that my teammates have been so welcoming.”
Shaw spent four seasons at Vanderbilt before transferring to UW, but part of her time out East was spent on the bench as she nursed an ACL injury for a full season. Not being able to battle alongside her teammates was not only a learning process, but a full-on struggle.
“Honestly, you see and learn a lot from the sideline, but it’s hard to communicate that with your teammates,” Shaw said.
The 6-foot-4 center has started 13 games this season and proven to be an integral part of the team’s offense. She plays a key role in establishing a post presence and opening up the floor for the Badger guards to go to work.
Although she came to the program with significantly more experience and knowledge than half the team, Shaw is well aware that there is always room for improvement on the court.
“With some of the younger players I try to be a teacher, but when listening to the coaches I try to be the student,” she said. “I’m always aiming to learn more.”
But while the Mont Belvieu, Texas, native stays mostly focused on the court, her good nature keeps the mood lighthearted even during a dismal conference season. She’s a vocal fan of Bruno Mars and breakfast food, and she’s not afraid to joke around about her teammates.
The Badgers are currently in the midst of a 10-game losing streak and have yet to register a victory in Big Ten play. However, they welcome Nebraska to the Kohl Center this Thursday and then head east to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face off against Michigan this Sunday.
This Wisconsin team has shown that it is capable of piecing together a victory, so a matchup with a lifeless Nebraska team that has lost 12-of-13 games presents a chance to break through.
That win would be an especially big one for the Badgers, as it would mark the first conference win of Tsipis’ career at UW. And while victories have been hard to come by this year, Shaw was quick to point out that there have been high moments.
“Beating UWGB [was big],” Shaw said. “That was a big game for us going into our two-week break. I think we played really well as a team, and just beating an in-state rival [was a big win].”
Tip off with Nebraska is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Thursday at the Kohl Center.