UW in thin air for opener

first_imgAfter two tune-up exhibition games, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team will finally get to test its young team as the Badgers travel to the thin air of Colorado to take on the Air Force Falcons.”It’s not only our first road game but our first official game,” UW head coach Lisa Stone said. “I treated these exhibition games like normal games. The difference is that we’re on the road. This one goes in the record book, and we’re hoping we can get off to a great start.”The 19-point, come-from-behind win against UW-Steven’s Point and the 50-point rout of Winona State in exhibition gave Stone and her squad some early signs of how this young team will gel together, as well as what needs to be improved.”I’d say right now we need to concentrate on two main areas,” Stone said. “One is rebounding, [doing] a better job on clearing the glass and getting better position on the boards. The other is free-throw shooting. Our first two exhibition games, we only shot 62 percent. That’s something we need to do a better job of.”Friday’s contest will mark the first time the Badgers have faced the Falcons, who finished the preseason 1-1, and will be the first road game for Wisconsin’s seven freshmen.”Obviously going on the first away game, there’s going to be some jitters for them, but eventually they’ll get through them,” junior guard Jolene Anderson said. “I think they took their [nervousness] out early by playing on the Kohl Center floor. I think they’re more calm.””I think having a couple games — even though they were exhibition — under our belt is going to help us with our jitters a lot just because we’ve played in front of people, and we’ve played against different opponents,” sophomore forward Caitlin Gibson said. “I think we’re a lot more prepared because of the exhibition games.”While the team’s main objective on the trip is to come back to Madison with its first regular season win of the year, the Badgers will also get the opportunity to do a little sightseeing as well.”We have three words that we use a lot this year, and [those are] ‘fun,’ ‘focus’ and ‘freedom,'” Stone said. “We’ll have some fun on the trip. We’ll tour the Air Force Academy. It has a tremendous history and reputation. The focus part certainly will come when we lace them up and go on that court, and when we practice hard and prepare for a great team. The freedom [means having] freedom to play. You’re going to learn from your mistakes. We need to grow.””It’s going to be really exciting because for the eight new people, it’s their first road trip,” Gibson said. “Air Force has a lot of history. Everyone’s excited to go there.”Since the Air Force Academy is located more than 7,000 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains, the change in altitude will definitely be a factor in Friday’s game, but the team hopes it will not present itself as a distraction.”We’ve just got to go there [and not] worry about the altitude,” Anderson said. “Obviously, that’s everybody’s main concern, but if you go up there thinking like that, then it’s going to affect you. We just have to go in there and play our game, and hopefully we’ll come out with a W.”On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers hope to carry over their strong play from the first two exhibition games. In the team’s game against Winona State, they were able to force 34 turnovers while limiting the Warriors to just 15 first-half points.”Defensively, I think that’s certainly the bread and butter right now,” Stone said. “It’s something that we’re going to have to continue to buy into and understand, that your best offense is your best defense. To take the turnovers, if we can turn those into points, capitalize on those turnovers, that’s what we’re looking for as well. I really like the energy we came out with on Sunday, and we need to make sure that we can try to revisit that on Friday.”Though young, Stone and her players feel ready for the regular season’s tip-off against Air Force.”Right now, I love this team,” Stone said. “I think they’re terrific young women, and they’re fun to be around. Hopefully, this will be the start of a great season ahead.”last_img read more