Women's basketball

Badgers look to bounce back from first loss as they welcome Duke in Big Ten-ACC Challenge

Wisconsin will have to stop Duke's well-rounded scoring attack to avoid its first home loss of the season on Wednesday.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

Last time out, Wisconsin (0-0 Big Ten, 6-1 overall) dropped a 69-68 nail-biter to the Arkansas Razorbacks for its first loss of the season. Now the Badgers return to Madison looking to change the tide as they prepare to take on the the Duke Blue Devils (0-0 ACC, 4-3) in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

Despite losing its final game of the Challenge in Music City tournament, Wisconsin was crowned champions thanks to a tiebreaker. Senior forward Marsha Howard was crowned MVP of the tournament and junior guard Kendra Van Leeuwen was named to the all-tournament team.

Although most of the attention coming out of the tournament has been focused on freshman Imani Lewis — who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors — and senior Marsha Howard, UW-Green Bay transfer Alex Luehring is gradually proving her worth on the court. Part of the Verona Area High School team that won the state championship back in 2016, Luehring has already brought her big-shot ability to Madison. Her knack for hitting critical three pointers will help the Badgers as they look to take on the Blue Devils on their home court, where they’re undefeated in three games this year.

On the other side of the court, Duke is coming off a game it let slip away against then no. 21 Missouri. The game continued an ongoing trend for the Blue Devils, who have fared poorly on the road this year and are just 1-3 away from home in 2018.

They look to buck that trend against Wisconsin with a balanced offensive attack. In each of their four wins, the Blue Devils have had four different players score in the double digits, so good ball distribution will be key. In its last two victories, Duke has gotten double-digit performances from the quartet of freshman Miela Goodchild, juniors Haley Gorecki and Leaonna Odom, and senior Faith Suggs.

Duke is lead by head coach Joanne P. McCallie, currently in her 12th year with Duke. With a .780 winning percentage and conference titles in four different conferences, McCallie has shown an ability to win with a variety of personnel.

Tip-off is Wednesday at 8:00 pm in the Kohl Center.

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