Women’s Basketball: Badgers prepare to take on Georgia Tech, North Dakota State in back-to-back road matchups

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The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team had a relatively successful performance in the Bahamas, missing out on the Hoopfest Championship by only four points after outplaying a ranked Arkansas squad for most of the way. They’ll need to use that loss as motivation as their time away from the Kohl Center begins to mount.

Wisconsin (5-2) is tasked with the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (5-1) in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. After consistently stumbling through non-conference schedules in past years, the Badgers have performed at an encouraging level thus far in 2019. Their victory formula has centered around winning the rebounding war and the battle in the paint, as well as consistent defense leading to open looks in transition.

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Georgia Tech features senior Francesca Pan, who has led the Yellow Jackets to one of their best starts in program history under a new head coach, Nell Fortner. The Badgers will need to execute on the glass in order to limit possessions and control tempo — something they let slip as Arkansas came from behind to beat them last week.

The Badgers have gotten plenty of production from their starting five this season, benefiting from Abby Laszewski’s consistency and the Imani Lewis’ scoring. Suzanne Gilreath’s quest to climb UW’s all-time three-point shooting record has gone semi-stagnant, but Wisconsin can count on her to capitalize on her green light from beyond the arc through the remainder of the season. Look for her to bounce back against Georgia Tech.

Wisconsin’s bench has seen Sydney Hilliard perform well in limited minutes, but has struggled with consistency at times and has allowed teams to hang around in the early season games to date. Against the North Dakota State Bison, a game that should be little more than a tune-up, the bench will see key playing time that they must capitalize on to generate momentum moving forward.

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The Badgers could really use two road wins to keep their season on track, as competitive conference play is only weeks away. Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis’ club could stand to create a cushion in their record in order to make a tournament push for the first time in years.

Wisconsin takes on Georgia Tech Dec. 5 in the McCamish Pavilion, and travels to freezing Fargo, North Dakota Dec. 8 to play the Bison at the newly opened Scheels Center. Tip-offs are at 6 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

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