The Badgers had a quick turnaround this week after losing to Marquette on Monday, but UW recovered and defeated the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 82-54 on Wednesday night. Wisconsin now advances into the season with the record of 6-4.
The biggest areas of success for UW was its ability to knock down shots as well as dominate its opponent on the glass. In a handful of UW’s previous losses, it was outrebounded, but Wednesday’s game showed a different side to its defense.
“A couple things we stressed at halftime,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said, “was I thought we could do better on the backboards, even though we were winning the rebounding battle.”
The Badgers went on to out hustled UTRGV on the boards by a margin of 16 at the end of the game, preventing many second chance points for UTRGV.
As far as bringing energy to the floor, Cayla McMorris made a major impact in the first 15 seconds of the game when she knocked down her first three, followed soon after by her second, giving UW a quick 6-0 cushion.
This high intensity energy set the tone for the remainder of the game, seeing as how the Badgers controlled the pace of the game and never trailed. McMorris ended the night with 18 points, showing a wide range of versatility through a culmination of points through three-pointers, layups, and free throws.
“I think you see the growth in Cayla’s game,” Tsipis said.
Following in close pursuit behind McMorris was Suzanne Gilreath, who seemed to finally be back in the groove from behind the arc as she totaled 15 points for the game.
In terms of the liveliness brought from the bench, UW’s reserves contributed 39 points to the team’s total score. They were led by Courtney Fredrickson, who had 13 of those points.
“She [Courtney] has been a huge asset to the team,” McMorris said. “I always tell her to keep her confidence up and play as hard as you can and everything else will follow.”
Fredrickson has impacted a number of games so far this season, functioning as a constant spark of energy off the bench, both defensively and offensively.
Additionally, throughout the game Wisconsin’s defense served as a main proponent for their victory, forcing UTRGV to shoot under pressure as the shot clock wound down on numerous occasions.
UW held one of UTRGV’s key players Megan Johnson to only three points and contained its other key scorer, Quynne Huggins, only allowing her to score 15 points.
In the end, the game came down to rebounding, which played in favor for UW, as well as shooting percentage. The Badgers shot 51 percent for field goals for the night, one of their better shooting percentages in a game during the season, whereas UTRGV went 20-62 in field goal attempts.
Moving forward, the Badgers remain busy as they prepare for a road game against Butler on Friday, aiming to use their rebounding and shooting achievement witnessed on Wednesday in their next matchup.