Women’s basketball: Badgers return home to take on Gators after five-game road trip
The Wisconsin women’s basketball team is certainly happy to be home.After a five-game road trip that saw the team travel coast to coast and resulted in a 2-3 record, Wisconsin (3-4) made their homecoming against a talented Florida (7-1) squad that is among the best in the country.Despite the exhausting travel schedule that started Nov. 22, head coach Bobbie Kelsey was excited to get back to work and begin game planning for the Gators.“It will be nice to be back in the Kohl Center,” Kelsey said. “But we have a tough opponent in Florida. They’re very aggressive, quick and we’re going to do certain things to slow them down, and to keep them from getting some of the things they want that make them really good.”After defeating the Gators in Gainesville last season, the Badgers will need to lean on senior Nicole Bauman who scored 10 points and notched seven assists in that game.Bauman has gotten off to a quick start this year, and leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per game, but Kelsey knows Wisconsin will need a complete team effort to beat Florida Thursday.“If we do what we’re supposed to do the way we’re supposed to do it, we’ll give ourselves a chance, just like they’re doing the same thing on their side,” Kelsey said. “You’ve got to do certain things against us to keep us from scoring.”In order for the Badgers to have a chance on Thursday, they will need to establish a lead earlier in the game. Wisconsin ended the first quarter down 13 in their latest defeat to Marquette, and did a poor job of cleaning up the defensive glass.The Badgers were out-rebounded by 15 and gave up 31 second chance points, results Kelsey was not proud of and knows this team cannot afford this season.“We did not start off very well,” Kelsey said. “We played even the rest of the quarters, if not ahead. But if you dig yourself a 13-point hole, for no other reason than not boxing out, it won’t end well.”The Badgers currently have a -0.6 rebounding margin, so while it’s not a dire need, it is still something Kelsey wants to see improve.And Kelsey knows opposing coaches will look to exploit any weakness, making rebounding a priority heading into this matchup with the Gators and beyond.“Other people are going to watch the tape and tell their kids, hit the boards, because they don’t box out,” Kelsey said. “We have to fix that immediately and then execute our offense a little bit better.”The Badgers and Gators will be set to tip-off at the Kohl Center Thursday at 7 p.m.