Wisconsin seeking road success as regular season nears end

Senior forward Marsha Howard recently became the seventh Wisconsin player to record 1,000 career points, and will finish her career at the Kohl Center Thursday night against Ohio State.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

The Wisconsin women’s basketball team (2-12 Big Ten, 9-18 overall) will play its last two games of the regular season on the road, the first of which is this Sunday Feb. 18 when UW travels to Iowa (8-5, 20-6) to take on the Hawkeyes, hoping gain positive momentum before heading into tournament play.

An important aspect of this matchup will stem from junior Marsha Howard who has led the Badgers in scoring that last three games. But along with Howard, freshman guard Niya Beverley will also be crucial as Beverley has now gone two games in a row without recording a single turnover. For a majority of the season, UW has focused in on improving its ability to take care of the ball while still pushing the tempo and being aggressive. With Beverley now upping her assist-to-turnover ratio to 2.1 on the season, she is now tied for fourth in the Big Ten. In total, Beverly has racked up 93 assists on the year and has proved to be a very effective point guard.

The Hawkeyes have defeated eight teams thus far who had made it to the NCAA tournament last year. One of Iowa’s most dominant players, junior Megan Gustafson, is only 26 points away from tying the program’s record for most points in a single season. Just this season alone, Gustafson has recorded 646 points, a program record for points in a junior season. This is the second year in a row she has surpassed the 600-point mark in a season. And to add to the record breaking, Gustafson also only needs ten more rebounds, in order to tie her own record that she set for the program for most rebounds in a single season.

No doubt Gustafson will be the main focus for Sunday’s game.

In addition to Gustafson, other Hawkeye players will also need close contesting. Both sophomore Kathleen Doyle and senior Chase Coley are averaging double figures as well.

What makes Iowa such a strong opponent simply comes from them being loaded with offensive threats. The trio, composed of Gustafson, Coley and Hannah Stewart, have combined for most of the points in Iowa’s wins, including a grand total of 65 points in its win over Penn State in early February.

UW will have to kick it into gear in terms of getting back on defensive, contesting the trio and of course, securing position down low.

Tipoff is at 2 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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