Stone’s squad looking to avenge blowout against Illinois

first_imgMany athletes know that learning from your mistakes will help improve your performance. This Thursday, the women’s basketball team will be hoping to learn from their mistakes that caused them a loss to Illinois early in the season.In that game just over three weeks ago, Illinois jumped out to a 16-point lead midway through the first half and never looked back. Wisconsin ended up suffering its worse loss of the season 84-54, and it all took place at the Badger’s home court at the Kohl Center.Illinois was unstoppable in that game as they finished 57 percent from the field and an astounding 11-of-16 from behind the arc.”Well, we hit a buzz saw when [we met last time],” head coach Lisa Stone said of the game. “They were obviously hot and made a ton of three’s on us. We had trouble getting through staggered screens the last time we played them. But they came in off a disappointing loss and then took it at us, and they’ve not won a game since they played us.”Now that doesn’t mean that they’re not capable,” Stone continued. “They’re having a nice year, and hopefully we can play much better defense on the perimeter.”The Badgers will have to contend once again with 5-foot-8 senior guard Janelle Hughes, who leads the team in scoring at 13.6 points per game. She has come out strong her senior year after coming off the bench all of last year. Hughes had 15 points in the last meeting, and the outside shooting of her and Lori Bjork burned the Badgers.The duo combined to go 9-of-13 from the three-point line, which all but sealed the Badgers fate. “They’ve got a terrific freshman in Bjork and great leadership, a senior point guard and a senior inside that really are leading the charge,” Stone said. Bjork had a career-high 24 points to lead all scorers in that earlier matchup, tallying five of those 11 made three-point shots. Another Illini who had a stellar game last time the two teams met is senior point guard Maggie Acuna, who got a record of her own in that game when she recorded 16 assists. That number was not only a school record but also the high mark for assists in a game ever at the Kohl Center. Now, things look different for the Badgers when they head to Champaign.The once strong Illinois team has been struggling as of late. Illinois started the season hot in conference play at 4-1 but has now lost six straight contests.Illinois now sits at 4-7 in conference but 12-10 overall.In all fairness to Illinois, they faced all the teams in the top half of the Big Ten standings, excluding Iowa, in just the past three weeks. That includes two matchups with last year’s national runner-up, Michigan State. And the Illini, whose last five games are to teams ranked lower than them in conference, can possibly finish .500 in conference play if they can defeat the Badgers.For the Badgers getting out to a strong start will be key to victory, as they were never able to catch up after falling behind so far in the last game.”If we’re not hitting and we’re hurrying all the time, we’re going to be playing from behind the whole game,” Stone said. “That’s the type of mentality that we have to have, because that’s the way you’re going to win games.”The only Badger to get into double figures in the last game was Jolene Anderson, who had the team high with 16 points. The team as a whole shot just 37 percent, but the return of Janese Banks to the starting lineup should bolster the offense.Banks, the team’s second leading scorer, came back slowly, coming off the bench originally. Since then, she has gotten to start again and she has produced in a big way.The sophomore guard has combined for 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in just the last two contests.Wisconsin will definitely need her to help not only on offense but to contain the outside shooting if they have any hope to come away with a win. The last time Wisconsin defeated Illinois was two years ago on their home court, and they hope to accomplish that feat again Thursday at Assembly Hall in Champaign.last_img

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