Wisconsin faces Savannah State Sunday for chance at bounce-back victory

Junior guard Suzanne Gilreath will have to shut down Green Bay's backcourt in their game Saturday.

Image By: Jon Yoon

It’s been a long week for the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team. They’ve played four games in seven days to be exact. After opening their busy stretch with a tough 17-point loss on the road to in-state rival Marquette last Monday night, the Badgers responded nicely with a dominating 82-54 victory over the UT-Rio Grande Valley at the Kohl Center on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, UW found itself on the road again where it suffered a close 69-62 loss to Butler in Indianapolis plagued by fatigue and a slow first-quarter start that proved to be the difference in the contest.

And thus, with another quick turnaround, Wisconsin (6-5) wraps up its hectic week with its first-ever matchup against Savannah State (2-4), Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers are the second opponent of the Lady Tigers six-game road trip. It will be an eventful pregame for SSU. The game was originally slated for a 2 p.m. tipoff, but severe snow in the Atlanta area Saturday made it impossible for Savannah State to fly out to Madison. Instead, the Lady Tigers will drive up to Charleston, S.C., Sunday Morning in order to take a flight to Madison.

Overall, Savannah State has had a rocky start to its young season. After an 86-44 slugging of LaGrange College, the Lady Tigers dropped its next four games — three of which were a part of its Thanksgiving tournament, the Savannah Invitational — by a combined 137 points.

In its last game, SSU was able to pull off a 71-67 come-from-behind victory against Georgia Southern University behind 15 points apiece from junior guards Kaylee Allen and Donasja Scott, capped off by three clutch free-throws by freshman guard Jazmine Bartlett in the final minute to ice the game.

The Lady Tigers have messed around with their starting lineup during their first six games, but seem to feature guard-heavy lineups, headlined by Allen and Scott who lead the team in scoring with 15 and 13.3 points per game, respectively. Other players look out for are junior guard Jacqueline Anderson (11 ppg), freshman guard Heniaya Moton (10.6 ppg) and 6’3” freshman center Alexxus Sowell (2.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg).

SSU does not figure to be too great of a challenge for the Badgers as it has struggled mightily against the likes of other Power-5 adversaries in the University of Florida and Providence College. However, with UW coming in with tired legs and fatigue, Wisconsin will have to emphasize the little things, block out mental mistakes and come out sharp in order to knock the Lady Tigers out early.

Against Butler, the Badgers could not recover from a slow first quarter start shooting from the field (27.6 percent). Additionally, the Badgers committed a season-high 16 personal fouls and were outrebounded by the Bulldogs 30-37. UW senior guard Cayla McMorris, led the Wisconsin attack friday night by posting a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double. Sophomore guard Suzanne Gilreath, who has been very streaky shooting the long-ball for the Badgers this year, came alive for UW in her last game, scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 5-of-10 from the three-point line.

Look for the Badgers to spread the wealth in terms of playing time and opportunities as Wisconsin will need to come together as a team and produce a solid-group effortto get a bounce-back win.

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