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

Syracuse upsets No. 6 North Carolina on road in ‘biggest win in program history’

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 30, 2014 at 11:52 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] Quentin Hillsman knew he had an ace in the hole. Syracuse’s second leading scorer Brianna Butler was on the bench with four fouls. But as the Orange began to erase an 18-point second-half deficit, it was just a matter of time before No. 13 was back on the floor. And when Butler checked in with 5:39 left, she went off. The sophomore guard scored nine points in the final 3:44 and led SU (16-5, 5-3 ACC) to an improbable 78-73 comeback win over No. 6 North Carolina (17-4, 5-2 ACC) in front of 3,007 at Carmichael Auditorium in Chapel Hill. “I would definitely say it’s the biggest win in program history,” Hillsman said. “To come on the road and beat North Carolina, who’s a great program, a program who’s always there in the Top-10 … It’s a huge win.” Butler – who was taken out at the 8:37 mark of the second half after committing her fourth foul — scored a game-high 22 points. She connected on dagger 3 pointer with 2:42 left in regulation to give SU a 72-69 lead. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I just had the hot hand at the moment,” Butler said. “I was able to get to the basket or find someone on the offensive end.“I just had to play smart defensively and offensively I just had to keep playing my game.”But it wasn’t just Butler’s heroics. Taylor Ford hit a 3 from the corner to tie the game at 65. Briana Day, who finished with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks, and Bria Day, who finished with 8 points and 3 rebounds, starred against the team they once planned to play for. Brittney Sykes also finished with 17 points. “She did a very good job of playing down the stretch,” Hillsman said of Butler. “I give her a lot of credit playing with four fouls in the last five and a half minutes of the game, to make the shots that she made and to put the ball on the floor, it was big for us.” North Carolina held 18-point leads twice – the first of which came with 4:14 left in the first half. At that point, Syracuse had committed 11 turnovers, and the Tar Heels held a convincing 40-22 lead.But after the break, the Orange defense locked down. Butler hit a 3 from the left corner to bring the Orange within 12 at 52-40.Everything began to go in favor of the road team. North Carolina missed two layups, traveled, was called for a 3-second violation and missed a 3-pointer on four consecutive possessions.Day set a pick and Butler hit another 3 to cut the deficit to eight at 60-52. Bria Day made a jumper to cut the UNC lead to 60-54. Peterson hit two free-throws to cut the deficit to 61-58, and moments later Fondren hit a shot to make it 61-60.Later Butler would drive into the paint and convert a layup to tie the score at 67. She hit two free-throws to tie it at 69, and hit a deep 3 to give SU a 72-69 lead. It was over from there. Sykes hit a jumper, and Butler hit another deep jumper. “We just fought and played hard,” Hillsman said. “To beat a good team like this, you need balance. We had great, great balance today.”And as Butler said after the game, now Syracuse has an enormous amount of momentum going into its home game on Sunday against No. 8 Maryland. Said Hillsman: “Coming to North Carolina, on the road, and to beat a Top-10 team is important. I mean, we understand what a road victory does to your RPI, so it was a big win.” Commentslast_img read more