first_imgTime is running out for the UW women’s basketball team.With just three games remaining on the schedule, head coach Lisa Stone wants to see improvement going into the Big Ten tournament from her struggling team that has experienced more than its fair share of woes.The Badgers’ last home stand of the year begins Thursday versus Penn State at the Kohl Center.And what better way than to tip it off by seeking some revenge against a Nittany Lions’ team that gave Wisconsin a 69-54 whooping back in January when Stone only had eight available players.”My quote I think before the game was eight is enough,” Stone said. “And our players really gathered around that, but we didn’t compete. We didn’t battle.”But as of late, Stone has noticed a vast difference in her squad.Despite the heartbreaking losses, Stone now sees her players with some fire in their eyes.”I’m seeing a difference now in our last few games, even Northwestern, it was a tough loss,” Stone said. “Illinois, we got down there, battled and held the lead the entire game, didn’t let them come back in. [Versus Michigan State] we competed and battled in a hostile environment against a very highly ranked team.”But maybe the biggest difference from the last time these two teams played — besides having Annie Nelson and Janese Banks healthy — is defense.”Well, our defense is much better now than it was, there’s no question about that,” Stone said.There’s no doubting that defense will be the key versus Penn State, especially considering the last time around Mashea Williams scored a career-high 20 points versus the Badgers.”Going into Penn State, as we think about that, we’ve got to play much better defense,” Stone said. “Williams, she just took us right to the basket. I mean, she averaged three points a game and had a career high against us.”The Badgers can’t only focus in on stopping Williams, however.Sophomore guard Adrienne Squire has been shooting the ball exceptionally well recently — most notably this past weekend, as she scored a career-high 28 points by hitting seven 3-pointers.”She’s prolific … she’s a great player, great shooter,” Stone said. “We’ve got to be at her feet. We’ve got to make her put the ball on the floor.”Possibly the hardest part about matching up with Penn State is the simple fact that it is a very similar team to Wisconsin’s.”I think they’re on the upswing of the pendulum, and I like to think that we are as well,” Stone said. “We’re starting to play some good basketball right now, and Penn State is young. There are some young players on their team that caused us some problems there as well.””Their depth is similar to ours in terms of how we matchup, so I think that bodes well for us,” Stone added.And if the past is any indication of Thursday night, the result may not be in the Badgers’ favor, as Penn State leads the all-time series 21-to-4.”Their record against the Badgers is pretty daunting,” Stone said. “I mean, if you look at their tradition and [Penn State head coach Rene Portland’s] tradition here even at the Kohl Center. I think they now feel like they can make a little late push, build some momentum in the tournament. They’re young and they’re figuring some things out.”But in the end, Stone believes having the final three games at home will be enough to overcome the Nittany Lions and end the season on the right note.”But, again, we’re back home,” she said. “I’m excited for us to be home. We’ve got a nice home stand coming here, and we’re playing good basketball at the right time.”last_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *