Stone pleased with Badgers’ trip to Hawaiian tourney

first_imgYANA PASKOVA/Herald PhotoThe Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team returned to Madison Monday morning from their trip to Hawaii after competing in the Rainbow Wahini Tournament. Despite their first loss of the season to No. 17 DePaul in the championship game, the team gained a great experience by traveling to Honolulu.”What a great trip,” said head coach Lisa Stone. “A tremendous opportunity for our players not only to play three games in three days and play some great competition and to beat a team on their home court in Hawaii, but some great bonding, a great opportunity to be with the football team and watch their game and have some success.”Continued bench production: As the contributions of sophomore phenoms Jolene Anderson and Janese Banks have almost become a given early on this season, the most surprising part of the Badgers women’s basketball team’s trip to Hawaii was how the bench stepped up at some very crucial moments.”I think our bench production certainly stands out statistically if you look at that,” coach Stone said. “Go back to our first game in Idaho State; they had a great, strong start — a tremendous first half and Idaho State cut back in and they didn’t flinch at all. We had people step up and perform very, very well down the stretch and sustain the victory.””Come back the next night against Hawaii trailing at halftime, never panicked,” Stone said. “We had our backs against the wall — Banks was fouled out, Danielle Ward was fouled out, and Ashley Josephson is injured so we have our reserve players in the game with two and a half to play, tie game, and a bit of a hostile environment and we sustained it … I’m very pleased with our bench.”The bench’s continued contributions were highlighted in the Hawaii game as Kjersten Bakke, a typical starter who Stone kept out of the starting lineup in favor of Ward, came up with a couple of critical rebounds in the clutch to secure the Badgers’ lead.Wahini Experiments: During the Rainbow Wahini Tournament, some experiments were made to the style of play — the 10-second backcourt rule and farther 3-point line were being used and may have affected the Badgers in their 76-57 loss to No. 17 DePaul.”This tournament, they ran the experimental rule and it may have had a slight affect, but we really didn’t concern ourselves with it,” Stone said. “From a 3-point shooting percentage-wise from the weekend, the 3-point line was deeper.”Wisconsin/Marquette Rivalry: As the Badgers’ men’s basketball team has created a rivalry with the Golden Eagles, the women’s basketball team is beginning to as well.The Badgers will face Marquette this weekend, but Coach Stone isn’t looking at it as a rivalry matchup, but as rather another chance to improve her squad against a quality opponent.”I think a lot of people would like to look for that [rivalry],” Stone said. “There’s a lot of mutual friendships there and on the other hand it’s an in-state game, an inner state rivalry, and Marquette’s a great team. They got us at their place last year, they’ve played really well, they’ve had great postseason experience and success, and they’ve done a nice job. They’re off to a decent start, but we look to get back home to the Kohl Center and demonstrate this improved basketball team — that’s what I hope I see.” Winning changes everything: With the team off to a hot 4-1 start, Stone has noticed a big difference in the team’s confidence as opposed to her previous two seasons at Wisconsin.”The look on the team’s faces is very different this year and I’m very pleased with that,” she said.Apparently winning changes everything and Stone hopes the team will take the same mindset from this early season success for the remainder of the season.”You don’t want to go back and talk about the last years, but there’s a different pulse in the locker room now,” Stone said. “They want to get better, they want to be good teammates, and they want to be a successful basketball team. I feel that pulse in the locker room and that’s very hard to explain, but it’s two-way without even being verbal and hopefully we’ll send that heartbeat and that passion in the way we want to go.”last_img read more