Confident Badgers climbing Big Ten standings

first_imgAlyssa Karel and Wisconsin hope to claim first place in the Big Ten against a streaking Iowa squad.[/media-credit]After their win over Northwestern Thursday, the Wisconsin Badgers are now sitting in third place in the Big Ten.However, head coach Lisa Stone and her team have their eyes on first. They will get an opportunity to reach their goal on Wednesday when they travel to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.The Badgers only have one shot at the Hawkeyes this year. However, Stone feels that her team is prepared and that one shot is all it will need.“The fact that they have their same starting lineup back brings some familiarity to our players,” Stone said.Knowing personnel has always been important to the Badgers, but Stone isn’t worried about that this week.“When your players are telling you about the other team before you even talk about the scouting report, it’s a good sign,” Stone said.With her players taking the scouting report upon themselves, Stone is free to focus on other key things the Badgers will have to do in order to have success against the Hawkeyes. For instance, she wants Wisconsin to be in control of the tempo. Stone is well aware of the dangers of getting into a running match with the Hawkeyes, so she believes another key is going to be stopping the drive. In a recent win against Northwestern, Iowa scored close to 60 points in the second half alone. It also got to the line upward of 30 times.“We have to limit them to one shot; we have to get to shooters and make sure they are contested,” Stone said.Stone is also pleased with the convenient timing of her team’s bye weekend this year. Most Big Ten teams are playing Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday schedules this week, while the Badgers enjoyed the weekend off.“It has given us some time to prepare. We will find out if it has been advantageous for us; we are looking forward to a great week,” Stone said.With just four regular season games left, the Badgers are in the thick of the title race. However, Stone is staying true to her strategy of taking things one game at a time.“This week is no different than the weeks leading up to this game. No one game is any more important than the others. We will prepare as we have been preparing. I feel very good about our team in terms of our preparation,” Stone said.As always, Stone is leaning on her senior class to lead the team to a successful end to the season. Stone has repeatedly noted she can count on the seniors to be leaders on and off the court.“They have held themselves to a very high esteem both academically and athletically. They are our leaders in the locker room in terms of expectation and their will and their want to win a Big Ten championship,” Stone said. “When you have that atmosphere, it enlightens you as a coach. I count on them, every practice and every game.”This year, each of Wisconsin’s four seniors has served a specific role. Stone was especially complimentary of forward Tara Steinbauer and her contribution to the program.“Tara is the X-factor. It’s not just scoring, it’s all the little things. She is one of the toughest kids on our team. She has made some big shots for us throughout the year, but it’s her toughness on the court, and that’s what we need the rest of the way,” Stone saidThe Badgers look forward to honoring their dedicated senior class before and after Saturday’s home game against Michigan.“They are a special group of kids. I count on them every practice and every game,” Stone said.last_img

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