Lost in the excitement of the football team winning their 3rd straight Big Ten championship was a good win by the Women's basketball team over SEC foe Alabama by the score of 69-50. Lost in that score line is the fact that Wisconsin did it without their one true star in Taylor Wurtz who was out with an injury. Lost in all of those storylines is the fact that two young Badgers are going to be transferring from Wisconsin at semesters end.
So, to say this weekend was an eventful one for the Wisconsin Women's basketball team would be putting it mildly.
Wisconsin currently sports a 4-3 overall record following the win on Saturday over Alabama.
On Monday head coach Bobbie Kelsey addressed the win over Alabama, one that saw the Badgers use their zone defense to make the Tide go stone cold from the field, shooting just 22.7% from the field for the game.
"Our game against Alabama was a good one for us," coach Kelsey said during her Monday press conference. "We obviously hit some shots that we normally were not hitting in previous games. Everybody contributed. We had a freshman obviously contribute greatly for us, and we needed that."
That freshmen she's referencing were Dakota Whyte and Nicole Bauman who stepped up big time the absence of Taylor Wurtz, which we'll get to in a bit, scoring a combined 17 points in the 1st half. Whyte ended the game with 13 points and Bauman, a starter, had 11 of her own in the win.
All of that is good news for a team that is going to be without star Taylor Wurtz for what appears to be an extended period of time with a back injury. On Monday coach Kelsey provided the media with a bit of an update on her status.
"We're still waiting for doctors," said coach Kelsey. "She had doctors appointments with different people and just trying to figure out the best option for her. Again, with a back injury, you don't want to take a chance with that because basketball, much as we love it, it's not — she's going to have to walk the rest of her life."
"So it's a situation where it's something that's pressing on the nerve. So you can't just put some ointment on that or a Band-Aid on it. You've got to figure out what's going on with that, and that's what they're trying to do. So until we know, we can't make any definitive statements about Taylor's immediate availability."
Kelsey couldn't resist starting off her press conference with a bit of humor that shouldn't be lost on any Badger fan as they head into this week and clearly despite the things surrounding this program at the moment coach Kelsey isn't too uptight.
"First off, I'd like to congratulate our football team," said Kelsey. "Obviously, they gave us a lot of incentives and encouragement to go out and do our part to make the Badgers look good. We're very excited for them. And going to the Rose Bowl, obviously, a little school I kind of know about. People keep asking me, who are you going to cheer for? Well, who pays the Bills?"
However, despite all of that there was another bit of bad news for the Badgers program as it's now two players that are transferring out of Wisconsin. It was announced just before the Alabama game that Sophomore guard Lindsay Smith will transfer out, joining Makaliah Dyer who announced on Nov. 21st her transfer from the program.
Coach Kelsey was a bit more surprised by Smith's transfer than Dyer's because of the different situations both were in and recognized Dyer's position as a freshman and place on the depth chart probably made it a wise move for her. But, for Smith it was less easy to take in a way.
"Lindsay was more surprising because she was playing last year and she was hurt a little bit this year," said Kelsey. "She had the hip flexor issues and the concussion. So we were a little bit more surprised that she decided to leave now as opposed to — and Taylor being out, that's an opportunity."
Moving on to the brighter side and looking forward, this week is a big one in the state as it's Wisconsin vs. Marquette and the battle between these two in women's basketball hasn't exactly been kind to the Badgers as of late. Kelsey didn't mince words when talking about the matchup and where advantages lie.
"We don't match up quite as well with them, but, again, if you got Jacki (Gulczynski) and AnnMarie (Brown) who can step away," she said. "So their bigs are going to have to come out. When they get on the block, we have to pay attention to what they're doing. It will be an adjustment for both teams to try to figure out how to guard certain individuals."
However, coach Kelsey believes this team is capable of winning it and putting pride back on the side of the Badgers in this series. Wisconsin has lost three of the last five in the series and the last two in a row. We'll have much more on this game heading into Wednesday for sure.