Wisconsin dominates in exhibition, beating UW-Oshkosh 79-51
Senior forward Marsha Howard looks to get the Badgers back on track against Marshall.Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger
Wisconsin women’s basketball furthered its perfect record in exhibitions since the 2005-06 season, after defeating UW-Oshkosh 79-51 Sunday at home in their final tune-up before the regular season.
Although the Badgers returned four starters from last season, head coach Jonathan Tsipis altered last year’s regular starting five rotation by adding freshman forward Imani Lewis and senior guard Kelly Karlis into the mix.
Wisconsin took charge early, forcing UW-Oshkosh to call its first timeout within the first few minutes of play in response to senior forward Marsha Howard, who dominated the court from tipoff. Howard scored the first points of the game for the Badgers and continued to contribute with a put back and then break away steal during the beginning of the first quarter.
Wisconsin’s momentum was curtailed for a moment when UW-Oshkosh senior forward Erin Vande Zande hit an “and-one.” This bucket sparked an energetic run for the Titans as freshman guard Katie Ludwig sank a three-pointer on the next trip down the floor, followed by another three-pointer from sophomore guard Leah Porath. In response, Coach Tsipis noted that moving forward, Wisconsin needed to work on maintaining a continuous defensive presence.
“I loved the start we got out to defensively,” Tsipis said. “But no matter who you are going to play they had an opportunity to gain some momentum. As we look how we are going to be better I think you saw spurts defensively.”
Despite the small run for the Titans, UW managed to recover and put a few more points on the board to end the first quarter with a 18-9 lead.
UW-Oshkosh rallied and brought the deficit to only six points by the six-minute mark in the second quarter. Despite the lag in the Badgers’ offense, Howard continued to pound her way to the basket, landing herself at the free throw line multiple times.
Along with Howard, redshirt freshman guard Alex Luehring, transfer from Green-Bay, helped lead the offenses, recording back-to-back threes which helped Lewis get her offense going with a couple trips to the free-throw line. The Badgers broke away from the close score and extended their lead to 20 points. Luehring closed out the half with another three-point at the buzzer, putting Wisconsin ahead 42-22.
The Badgers entered the second half blazing, with no sign of letting up anytime soon. Karlis continued the Badgers’ success from behind the arc with a deep three. While Wisconsin put up a significant amount of points in the third quarter, it also allowed UW-Oshkosh to do the same. Even with the heavy scoring on behalf of the Titans, the Badgers ended the third quarter clearly dominating 60-36.
With five minutes left and a 75-42 lead, Tsipis changed the lineup, allowing redshirt senior guard Lexy Richardson and sophomore forward Kara Crowley to see the floor for the first time.. UW-Oshkosh did its best to continue putting up points, but with its top leading scorers recording only 8 points, the Titans couldn’t get the job done.
Karlis and Luehring, saw a lot of action in their first game of the season and were a huge part of the success, but Tsipis still hopes they continue to prove their importance.
“I am going to expect more out of Kelly and Alex just because they have been in the college basketball setting longer,” Tsipis said.
One key in the Badger victory was the clear height advantage the Badgers possessed. Wisconsin outrebounded UW-Oshkosh 48 to 35. Both Karlis and Lewis created a strong presence in the paint recording 8 and 6 rebounds, respectively.
The Badgers also showed a balanced offense throughout the exhibition. Four players led the way in double digits, including Howard, junior forward Courtney Fredrickson, Karlis and Luehring. Howard, as expected, led the team with 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Howard looks forward to the remainder of the season and hopes that in her role as a senior, she can help lead this new Badger team to success.
“I just hope to accomplish that the team continues to bring the same competitiveness and energy each game, and to just keep my team willed up to have the courage to know that we can win and we are big enough,” Howard said.
The Badgers will officially tip off the season when they host Winthrop on November 8.
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