After a disappointing loss to the NJIT Highlanders, the Wisconsin Women's Basketball Team is set to face Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Bradley is coming off two thumping wins, whereas the Badgers are looking to get their road record off to a good start. Each team has a trio of players that fans will need to watch out for, alongside the contributions of both star-studded benches.
Bradley is looking to continue their dominance at home to bolster their season start, and Caroline Waite will lead that effort. Although only a freshman, the guard is putting up incredible numbers in her debut season. Waite clocked 30 minutes in their last game against Upper Iowa, racking up a total of 24 points, not to mention her four assists and steady defensive performance. The Badgers will have to keep an eye on her from three, especially, as 15 of Waite's 24 points came from beyond the arc. Waite will have the help of teammate Sierra Morrow, who combined with Waite throughout the game, giving the Bradley Braves a convincing win against their in-state competition. Morrow has settled in nicely, assuming the forward position, finding her place on the team. In their win against Upper Iowa, Morrow brought in 12 points, complemented with her five rebounds. Daija Powell is the final piece in the Braves' "Big 3." The sophomore put up impressive numbers in Bradley's opening game against Wright State. Powell — who has transferred from Texas Tech — is looking to make an impact on the Braves. In the last meeting between Wisconsin and Bradley, the sophomore totaled 18 points and six rebounds in only 23 minutes. The forward will definitely help improve Bradley shooting throughout the season, especially with her .632 field goal percentage freshman year.
Although Bradley has undeniable skill, Wisconsin has a trio that can take on the Braves, giving the viewers a game to remember. Starting off, the Badgers have Sydney Hilliard, a consistent guard for the Badgers for years. In their last game against NJIT, the junior totaled 18 points and three rebounds. Having played 39 minutes, it is apparent that she will be a significant piece to Badger basketball this season and a cornerstone to Marisa Moseley's work with Wisconsin. Another major component to the women's team would be guard Katie Nelson, who has settled into form very well. Over the past couple of games, Nelson has given the Badgers consistent minutes, complemented by a steady supply of points, assists and steals. Against NJIT, she played 40 minutes, collecting eight points, six assists and three steals. While the statline may not show the entire game, it is important to note that Nelson fared well in managing the game and directing play on the court, only adding to her impactful time on the hardwood. Rounding off Wisconsin's trio would be junior forward Sara Stapleton and her dominance in the paint. Although Stapleton did not play much in their home opener, she did get a solid 30 minutes against NJIT. Making the most of her time on the court, she totaled 16 points and six rebounds. It will be exciting to see how she fares in the paint against Peoria, adding to the headline of the Friday matchup.
While Waite, Morrow, and Powell will be instrumental on Friday, mentioning other potential standouts for the game is important. Gabi Haack and Tatum Koenig are two players amongst the supporting cast of Bradley who should make a difference in the upcoming game. Both guards have already been putting up consistent minutes, with considerable contributions through points and assists. Haack, a fifth-year, and Koenig, a senior, are set to have successful seasons this year, and a matchup with the Badgers might spur that.
On the other side of the court, some players set to catch fire would be Krystyna Elew and Julie Pospisilova. This season, the two guards have not shared the court due to Pospisilova's contributions to the Czech Republic National Team overseas, but their shared production could make quite an impact. The court has seen what Elew can do when she is in rhythm, and Pospisilova has been a consistent player for the Badgers for years now. The duo will be exciting to watch if they both end up playing, only adding to the brewing intensity of the game.
If unable to watch in Peoria, the game will be streamed on ESPN+ for fans nationwide. The game is bound to be good, with two teams having a lot to prove, especially with it being the start of the season for both teams. With players emerging on both sides, keep an eye out for the aforementioned trios and how the other players compliment them on the court. Both teams will need their players at their best, as this game could be a glimpse of what the rest of the season will look like.