Now that conference play has kicked off, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team (0-1 Big Ten, 9-4 overall) is looking to get their first conference win against the Purdue Boilermakers (1-0 Big Ten, 10-4 overall).
Wisconsin is coming off a tough loss against the No. 12 Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-0 Big Ten, 12-0 overall) where familiar issues — poor free-throw shooting, turnovers and foul trouble — plagued the Badgers in a 74-56 loss. Three of the Badgers' star players including freshman forward Imani Lewis, senior forward Marsha Howard and senior guard Kelly Karlis managed to rack up a total of 10 fouls and seven turnovers, along with shooting an appalling 0-for-8 from the free-throw line. The three players also underperformed in regards to scoring, as they scored 13 points below their combined total average points per game.
The Badgers started off the game slowly, as they missed 12 of their first 14 shots and relinquished a 10-point lead to end the first quarter. The game only got worse as it continued, as Wisconsin got deeper into foul trouble and Minnesota’s lead increased. The Badgers finished with no players reaching double digits in scoring, which is a first for the season.
Wisconsin hopes to forget this dreadful loss as they face Purdue on New Year’s Eve. So far this season, Purdue has played impressive basketball, as they upset the previously ranked Miami Hurricanes and forced double overtime with the No. 25 South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Boilermakers are led this year by sophomore guard Karissa McLaughlin, junior guard Dominique Oden, and junior forward Ae’Rianna Harris. The three players each average about 15 points per game, but they provide another level for Purdue. Harris grabs the bulk of the rebounds, McLaughlin leads the team in assists and Oden plays exceptional defense, leading the team in steals.
Wisconsin and Purdue match up very well. They both rely heavily on their forwards and are not too dependent on mid to deep-ranged shooting. Wisconsin’s Marsha Howard and Imani Lewis will need to be able to slow down Harris, while Kelly Karlis and junior guard Kendra Van Leeuwen have to keep up offensively against Purdue’s backcourt of McLaughlin and Oden.
The Badgers need to stay out of foul trouble and shoot effectively from the free-throw line if they want to come away with a win in what should be a close game.
Tip off is at 2 p.m. CST.