6. Whoa... Getting the full Cali experience. Earthquake in Anaheim. #Fieldof8-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 29, 2014
this week's Badger Blog, head coach Yvette Healy discusses the Badgers tough schedule and their first home series of the 2014 season.
It's opening weekend in Madison! It's exciting to be home in
Wisconsin, after playing on the road six of the last seven weekends. We've been to Texas, California, Tampa,
Miami, Louisville, and Chicago. We're
15-12 right now, with big ranked wins over #8 Arizona and #23 Northwestern.
This season has been filled with adversity, facing the toughest schedule in school history. We've played #4 Florida twice, #17 Texas A&M twice, #5 Washington, #11 Arizona State, #8 Arizona, and #23 Northwestern three times. We still have eight ranked games ahead against #6 Michigan, #15 Minnesota, and #19 Nebraska. At least two of our games against ranked opponents will be at home, when we host #19 Nebraska here on April 30th.
We'll face off against a tough Iowa team this weekend, as we
get into the heart of Big Ten play. Being
from the Midwest, it's easy to appreciate how special Big Ten softball is. What an amazing conference; great academics,
great facilities and exciting rivalries.
It's an honor to play legacy programs like Iowa, with their 16 NCAA
tournament appearances, 4 trips to the Women's College World Series, and 31
NCAA tournament wins. Iowa is the type
of successful, legacy softball program that we're working to build here at
Wisconsin. They have so much history when
they step on the field, with 27 All-Americans.
We know playing opponents like this is never easy. Iowa has competed in Madison 8 times, and they've only lost one series. The Hawkeyes are 12-3 all-time here at Wisconsin, which is an 80 percent win percentage. Our goal is to start evening those numbers out. We're working to make strides, to improve and to grow. One game at a time, we're making progress, we're changing history, and we're building success. It's a tough task to change history, but this senior class is certainly up for the challenge.
Hey Badger Fans!
It has been a long season for the Badgers in Madison, and although it didn't end on the high we had hoped, I could not be more proud of my teammates. The determination, hard work, and relentless spirit of my teammates propelled us to successes many people doubted when we set out on our journey together last September.
It is a bittersweet ending for many of my teammates, in large part the senior class. While we are happy with our four years here at Wisconsin and looking forward to bright futures, it is difficult to leave behind a team that has meant so much to us over the years. The team this year has been like a family on and off the ice. The spirit and kindness of every girl in our locker room made packing our bags together one final time a difficult and emotional moment.
On behalf of my teammates I want to thank all the fans in Wisconsin and beyond who have supported us throughout the season, and for the seniors throughout our entire careers. It seems like just yesterday some of us were pulling on that Badger jersey for the first time, and my hope is that the future Badgers recognize the honor and pride that comes with bearing the motion W on their chest--it truly goes by too fast.
While many memories have been created over the years, I will always remember the pride that accompanies being part of such a rich and historic tradition as a Badger athlete. The team was disappointed last weekend, but if I know anything about my teammates, it is that they will never quit. The seniors are moving on, but there is a fresh group of talent being added to the roster next year and a solid core returning that will do whatever it takes to continue bringing hardware back to Madison.
Lastly, I want to thank our families and all the people back home. I have said it before, and sincerely mean it when I say that none of us would be where we are today without the love and support of those who first gave us the chance to chase our dreams. The coaches who pushed us when we were little and the parents who drove us to the rink and waited for us until it was time to make the drive back home are the reason we are where we are today. My parents said to me after the last game, "Thank you for all the memories, it's been a great run." I want to take this opportunity on behalf of my teammates to thank not only my parents, but also all the other parents of my teammates who have made this journey one that I will remember for the rest of my life.
It has been a fun ride Badger fans, and while I am sad it is coming to an end, I look forward in the coming days or weeks to revealing the next blogger for the Wisconsin women's hockey team. Until next time, thanks for reading, and ON WISCONSIN!
4. Get loose #Fieldof16# pic.twitter.com/1YebQPrsNa-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 27, 2014
Wednesday was the Badgers' introduction to the Honda Center, the site of UW's Sweet 16 game vs. Baylor on Thursday night. But before they got to step on the court, the players and coaching staff met with the media to talk about the matchup with Baylor. The complete transcript from the podium sessions with Coach Ryan, Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson can be found here.
In addition, here are some quotes from the Badgers' open locker room:
Sam Dekker on defending Baylor's big men: "Me and Frank [Kaminsky] will probably have to share the duties inside on those two early on. It doesn't matter who we have [to defend] as long as we are physical. We need to out-tough them. We can't play weaker on those guys, otherwise they will eat you alive."
Josh Gasser on Baylor's strong play in March: "They are playing really well right now. You have to come out with a lot of energy and match their intensity. It will be a physical game with their bigs down low. We have to come out right from the start."
Bronson Koenig on breaking down Baylor film: "Obviously we saw a lot of length and athleticism out of them. They are quick in closing out on the shooters in their zone."
Also check out our complete photo gallery of the Badgers' day at the Honda Center.
28. Nigel, Sam, Trae meeting w/media right now. Nigel on whether he likes seeing upsets: "Personally I fear upsets." pic.twitter.com/MZ5AJr5CXJ-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 21, 2014
24. Another round of wake up calls for Ben Eckburg this a.m. You can never underestimate the value of team managers #Fieldof32-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 22, 2014
23. Nothing like a police escort for the 3 block drive from the hotel to the arena. #Fieldof32-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 22, 2014
18. Shoot around: the only place on Earth you will witness Evan Anderson drain a 3 off the dribble while coming off a screen #Fieldof32-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 22, 2014
2. Oregon going with what they refer to as "Apple Green" uniforms. Ducks are 1-3 in these fits #Fieldof32-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 23, 2014
The partisan Bradley Center crowd was getting a little antsy about midway through the first half but a Ben Brust 3-pointer ignited a 22-5 run over the final 9:17 to give Wisconsin a 32-22 lead heading into halftime.
The Badgers started the half hot offensively, going inside to Frank Kaminsky for their first three buckets of the game. A dunk by Sam Dekker gave the Badgers a 10-5 lead but then UW went cold, missing its next seven shots. During that time American went on a 12-0 run until Brust halted it with Wisconsin's first 3-pointer of the game, at the 9:17 mark. From that point until the end of the half, American scored just five points, going 1-7 from the field with four turnovers.
After a hot start, Kaminsky picked up his second foul with 4:44 left in the half. Undaunted, the Badgers outscored the Eagles 12-4 the rest of the way.
At the half, Brust leads all scorers with 11 points, Jackson has seven and Kaminsky has six. Guard John Shoof started hot for American and led the Eagles with eight points.
Despite missing seven in a row at one point, UW finished 11-of-26 (.423) from the field and made all seven of its free throw attempts. American was 8-of-18 (.444) from the field, 3-of-4 from the free throw line and committed eight turnovers.
58. Getting the team on gameday schedule - that means breakfast (pregame meal) at 7:40 a.m. #Fieldof68-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 19, 2014
52. Most common phrase heard at practice today? "Run it again." Can't see American's offensive sets too many times. #Fieldof68-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 19, 2014
43. Bo Ryan: "I have not seen a team run the 'pure' Princeton offense like American does. They do it really well." #Fieldof68-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 19, 2014
40. Ryan sat backstage listening to players do presser. After, he told em they might lose playing time for some of the answers. #Fieldof68-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 19, 2014
39. Ryan opens press conf: "well, I was an economics major & I was good enough to get drafted... (Wait for it)... By the army." #Fieldof68-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 19, 2014
37. Bo Ryan tells Nigel Hayes: "the early bird gets the worm." Nigel responds "but the 2nd mouse always gets the cheese." #Fieldof68-- Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 19, 2014
27. Ben Brust at the pep rally, "Let's make the Bradley Center feel like the Kohl Center." #Fieldof68— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 20, 2014
25. Nigel "Burgandy" after watching his Q&A w/ teammates from earlier today: "When you put me in my natural habitat I flourish" #Fieldof68— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 20, 2014
22. Barry Alvarez issued a challenge at pep rally: "We better have a home court advantage!" #Fieldof68— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 20, 2014
17. First official duty on Gameday was manager Ben Eckburg giving wake-up calls to every player at 7:30 am. Rise & shine #Fieldof68— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 20, 2014
15. Everybody prepares differently. For Vitto Brown, that meant a workout this morning in the hotel fitness center. #Fieldof68— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 20, 2014
8. Only 22 seats on bench during tourney games. Means non-participating players will take over in-game duties of team managers #Fieldof68— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 20, 2014
3. "One thing that will never change is the effort you have to give. Let's try to get another 40 minutes." - Bo Ryan to team #Fieldof68— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 20, 2014
Ben Brust, Josh Gasser, Frank Kaminsky and head coach Bo Ryan met with the media on Wednesday in advance of the Badgers' game Thursday morning against American. The complete transcript from their sessions can be found here: ASAP Sports.
Here are some of the highlights:
Josh Gasser on playing in Milwaukee: "It's awesome. It just means that you did something special during the year to get rewarded to play close to home. And it's great for my family, these guy's family, to be semi close. Just to be able to experience NCAA Tournament atmosphere is awesome for my family and friends and other people as well. It's kind of a home-court advantage in a way, but, at the same time, once the clock starts, once you get between the lines, it's all what we do and we control that."
Frank Kaminsky on his high growth spurt in high school: "I got into high school at 6' 2" and left high school at 6' 10". I had a lot of growing to do both physically and mentally. Sometimes I would just be running down the court and trip over my own feet because I was just getting awkward. And I think just growing into my body took a little bit of time because I did kind of have a later growth spurt than most people."
Ben Brust on Coach Ryan winning 700 games and earning national respect: "It's very special to be a part of that, and I think the number 700 just shows if you're getting that many wins, you're doing a lot of things right. As players we'd be smart to listen to a guy who has won that many games because he's successful for a reason. You don't get 700 wins with luck. He's doing something right, and, you know, Coach doesn't care what other people think. He's the type of guy who wants to get stuff done and get it done the right way, and we're just looking to continue what we can do."
Coach Ryan on his philosophy: "I always tell young coaches when they're asking for advice, 'take a job at a place where you can coach for five years or 50 years.' Because if you take a job and you're always looking left, right, behind you, in front of you, if you're always looking in different directions, you're not going to do as good a job with the people who believed you in the first place and hired you. So, if you're hired to do a job, for a nickel, give them a dime's worth. That's been my philosophy that I learned from my parents. I'm sure they learned from their parents."
Coach Ryan on Nigel Hayes' humor: "I got a guy that beats me, and old line is obviously 'the early bird catches the worm.' As we're done with our video session, Nigel always tries to beat me to the court. I said, "good, Nigel, the early bird catches the worm."
"Coach, the second mouse always gets the cheese."