After a weeklong road trip to Las Vegas and California over Thanksgiving break, the UW women's basketball team (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) returns to the Kohl Center for a pair of games this weekend against Southern Mississippi and Kansas.
Wisconsin experienced some great success in the Rebel Shootout at Vegas, defeating Kansas State and UNLV on their way to a tournament victory.
"Obviously it went well for us," junior guard Jolene Anderson said. "We didn't play the greatest the first game, but we bounced back. We just did the things that needed to get done to win the tournament."
"I thought that the weekend was a great learning experience, especially for our young players," UW assistant coach Donna Freitag said. "I thought we achieved a lot of things on the court as well as off the court. I believe that what we learned and what we gained from that weekend is tremendous.
"We didn't shoot all that well against Kansas State," Freitag continued. "We shot a little better against UNLV, but we found ways to win."
Freitag also felt the young Badger team proved something to the nation with the win over Kansas State.
"We had a close game and put a team away that is a very good-quality Big Twelve team," Freitag said. "It was a really big win for us. It was a game where we could make a statement to our conference and to other teams in the country that the Badgers are for real."
Tuesday's game against UC-Riverside, however, yielded different results.
An exhausted Badger team failed to score in the last three minutes of the game and could not close out the Highlanders, resulting in UW's first loss of the season.
"We just went against some things that worked [for us] every other game," freshman guard Teah Gant said. "That happens, and you just have to work past that and focus on the next game.
"We have a lot of games left in the season, so we just have to focus on what's next."
Furthermore, a handful of the Badgers suffered from flu-like symptoms during the game against UC-Riverside, which led to a decrease in minutes for many players and perhaps a lack of focus among the team.
"I don't know whether it was because of a long trip, but our focus wasn't there," Anderson said. "It started off in the shootaround. We weren't really focused like we should have been. We know we've got to put [the loss] behind us. We can't make the same mistakes that we did on Tuesday."
Wisconsin will take on a strong Southern Miss team (3-4, 0-0 C-USA) Friday and will face Kansas (4-1, 0-0 Big 12) Sunday.
"Obviously they're both going to be athletic," Anderson said. "They're both Division-I teams, and they're going to come here ready to battle. We've just got to give our best effort that we can and hopefully we'll come out on the winning side."
With the two games in a three-day span, the Badgers will look to take things one game at a time and not overlook Friday's game.
"[Southern Miss] is gonna be tough," Freitag said. "They're a very quality Conference USA team. They've got a great starting five, a couple of three-point shooters, and athletic, strong post players inside.
"Their point guard [Kristin Chaney] is solid, and she handles the ball well," Freitag continued. "She's 5-foot-4, so she'll match up well with [5-foot-3 Wisconsin point guard] Rae Lin D'Alie. It'll be another good challenge for us in preparing us for the rest of the season."
Sunday's contest will be a rematch of last year's double-overtime game in Lawerence, Kan., in which Kansas prevailed by three over the Badgers.
It will also be battle of one-loss teams and should provide the Badgers with one of their toughest tests yet.
"We've got Kansas on our mind, and the fact that they beat us in double-overtime last year," Freitag said. "But first things first. We really want to focus on Southern Miss first and then take that next challenge when it comes."
Junior forward Danielle Ward also says the team is not looking past Friday's matchup.
"[We] are focused on this game coming up," Ward said. "If someone asks me, 'Who do you play the next day?' or 'Who do you play Sunday?' I'm like, I don't know. I try to look at it one game at a time."
With two wins at the Kohl Center this weekend, Wisconsin can remain undefeated at home this season and improve its overall record to 8-1.
"We don't want to allow anyone to come in here and beat us on our home court," Freitag said. "We've learned from last game, and now we move forward and continue to strive for success."
Source : https://badgerherald.com/sports/2006/12/01/what-happens-in-vega/