Improvement areas arise for women’s hoops

first_imgRebounding and boxing out will be the main focus for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team following a disappointing 70-62 loss to Alabama last Thursday.After holding a 13-point lead in the first half and taking a 38-33 lead into halftime, the Badgers (3-1) did not come out strong in the second half.“We just went cold in that game,” head coach Bobbie Kelsey said. “We couldn’t really hit a basket, and we gave up (offensive) boards. So that hurts you, that’s a double-whammy right there.”Alabama took the lead with about 16 minutes left in the game and never really looked back from there.In that loss, the Badgers gave up 19 offensive rebounds, which turned into just a few too many extra possessions as the differential in the second half as Alabama got their first win of the season against Wisconsin.“They saw the ball and went and got it,” Kelsey said. “We didn’t keep them from getting it. That was kind of our Achilles’ heel in that game.”Kelsey believes that the team has it in them to rebound and box out better if they just showed a little more aggression during the games. Rebounding and attacking the rim are the two main points where she would like to see improvements as the season moves on.“We felt like we could have played a lot better, and we could have boxed out,” Kelsey said. “The game changed on the second-chance points that Alabama was able to get and going to the free-throw line.”Kelsey had nothing but positive things to say about senior Morgan Paige, who had an overall productive game. Although Wisconsin was perfect from the free throw line, Paige shot all 13 of them while Alabama went 18 of 22 from the line.“She’s a great free-throw shooter. But other people need to create offense by going to the basket and getting fouls,” Kelsey said. “We need to cause them to foul us a little bit and get more people to the free throw line.”She also praised Paige’s play during the game as one of the only bright spots for the team in the loss. Paige was able to mix up shooting and driving perfectly to be successful against Alabama.“She’s really crafty getting around the basket,” Kelsey said. “She did a nice job of shooting her three and then creating stuff off the dribble. You have to be able to do both. You can’t just do one thing and be one-dimensional.”Thursday’s game was the first time so far this season that Paige has played extremely well. Kelsey hopes Paige will continue this attacking style of play in which she was so successful.Another factor in how the team will play once conference play begins is getting their other key players back on track to score.“Hopefully, we can keep Morgan going, get (Michala Johnson) back on track, get Taylor (Wurtz) — you know, you’ve got to have two or three scorers out there that make it hard for the defense,” Kelsey said.Wisconsin has until just after New Year’s to figure out their scoring and defense before B1G play opens.Morgan was not the only Paige family member with a big game this weekend. Her younger brother Marcus played a crucial role in helping North Carolina knock off No. 3 Louisville on the men’s side of the ball.“I said, ‘must be something in the Paige water they’re drinking at home,’” Kelsey said.The Badgers are looking forward to heading down to Nashville to play in Vanderbilt’s Thanksgiving Tournament. Their first game Friday will be against Mercer (3-2), and then they will either play Elon or Vanderbilt Saturday.The tournament will also be a time for all the players to sit down and bond with the other players and their families.“A lot of families are going to be there, and they’re going to celebrate with us,” Kelsey said. “So it’s just a time to bond and be together as a group. We’re excited about the opportunity to just go to Vandy and play two worthy opponents.”Nashville is going to be a little escape from the cold weather of Wisconsin, but Kelsey said she can’t help but be a little bit jealous of the men’s team being down in Cancun.“It will be a fun trip for us,” Kelsey said. “I’m jealous, the men are in Cancun. Nashville’s not quite Cancun.”last_img read more