Wisconsin (1-2 Big Ten, 10-5 overall) looks to bounce back after its second conference loss of the season as it prepares to take on No. 19 Iowa (1-1 Big Ten, 10-3 overall) Monday at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Badgers fell on the road in a hard-fought game against Penn State last week where senior forward Marsha Howard secured her sixth double-double of the season. Howard, who leads the team at 13 points per game, put up 20 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Freshman forward Imani Lewis and junior guard Suzanne Gilreath also put up double-digit scores. Though Wisconsin did not come out with the win over the Lady Lions, the Badgers did shoot 70.4 percent from the free-throw line, an improvement from many of their previous games.
Iowa heads into this matchup coming off its first Big Ten win of the season over Nebraska. Senior center Megan Gustafson showed out with a big night — going for 28 points and 17 rebounds. In addition to Gustafson, senior guard Tania Davis, junior guard Kathleen Doyle and senior forward Hannah Stewart also recorded double figures against the Cornhuskers.
Iowa leads the all-time series against Wisconsin 49-20 and has won the last 19 meetings dating back to the 2006-07 season. Despite the rivalry’s lopsided history, this season both teams present a number of strengths. The Badgers lead the nation in total rebounds with 703 and rank sixth in rebounds per game at 46.87.
Iowa ranks second in the nation for total assists and third with 22 helpers per game. The Hawkeyes have proven their ability to move the ball offensively, but when the offense breaks down they can still rely on Gustafson, who recently became Iowa’s all-time leading scorer for both men and women with 2,152 career points.
In terms of Monday’s matchup, it will be a battle between team leaders Howard and Gustafson. Both players have recorded 6 double-doubles this season and both lead their respective teams in scoring. Whereas Wisconsin’s balanced scoring ability typically gives it a leg up on the opponent, it will face a team which also possess a handful of players who put up double figures regularly. If the Badgers hope to prevent a conference losing streak they must take care of the ball and limit the number of turnovers, a major culprit in their loss to Penn State. Additionally, Wisconsin will need to limit Gustafson’s ability to control the game — in four career games against the Badgers she has averaged 18.3 points and 11.5 rebounds and has been the leading reason for Iowa’s success.
Tipoff is Monday at 7 p.m. in Iowa City.