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Hey friends!

 Sadly, I'm writing this post while wearing my dad's old sweatshirt, which means the trip to the Bahamas is over and we are back in the frozen tundra.

Last week was nothing short of unforgettable and we returned with tanner skin, full bellies and thankful hearts. I have to admit that spending Thanksgiving on an island threw me off. I had to keep reminding myself that it was thanksgiving, normally by telling every American that walked by "Happy Thanksgiving!" It was a jam packed trip with activities, experiences, and sites we will never forget.

Since there were so many neat things to do and see, I decided to make a video of everything I documented. It seemed much more efficient, and honestly it gave me a reason to use iMovie. But before you watch the movie, here are a few things we are thankful for this Thanksgiving:

--Our amazing families that give us never-ending support, especially the ones who made the trip to the Bahamas with us. We love y'all more than you know (even when we don't show it)

--Our coaches and teammates that keep us laughing everyday

--The kind and gracious Bahamian people who let us use their gyms and schools for our games

--Coffee, because while getting up at 6 a.m. to watch the sunrise every day was beautiful, it was also exhausting

--Paddle boards, because they provided Wednesday afternoon's entertainment (well actually it was Malayna, Cayla and my horrible attempts to paddle board that really got the people going)

--The hilarious and kind dolphin trainers who let us meet, hang out and even kiss some of God's most beautiful creations (and our guy Buddy, for letting us act like fools on his boat)

--Last but most certainly not least, Teddy, our joyful, serenading tour guide/bus driver

And without further ado, I give y'all a Badger Thanksgiving!

Love, Shannon

Badger Thanksgiving

Hello friends!

I'm currently typing on the bus as we're headed to Drake, which means one thing - sweet, sweet season is in full swing.

This is the time of the year to iron out our kinks as a team on the court and more importantly, to improve. I remember during my freshman year, this was the time everything started to sink in. This is when I started to feel like a real college athlete.

Season is in full swing and school work starts throwing better curveballs than Sandy Koufax. Oh, plus there is a very good chance we are traveling all weekend. Let me tell y'all, it is no joke.

So, this week I sat down with our freshmen, Roichelle Marble and Cayla McMorris, to see how they were handling college athletics.

The other day I walked into the NJP (our practice gym) and was facing the opposite direction of the door. All of a sudden I heard Coach Bobbie yell "Oh, there's Trouble 1 and Trouble 2!" I didn't have to turn around to know who she was talking about.

It is an extremely rare occasion to spot Roichelle without Cayla and vice versa. They are more attached at the hip than Michala and Malayna, which is ironic because Michala and Malayna are actual sisters. Needless to say, if I ever see one, I know the other is not far behind. So far, the only place Cayla can go without Roichelle is the court. Having torn her Achilles in the summer, Roichelle is still not released to play yet but that hasn't stopped her from experiencing all that college has to offer. 

When I asked Roichelle how she would sum up college as a whole so far, she replied as only Roichelle could. "It's definitely very different than what I'm used to, especially the walking. I've never had to walk to class before. My classes are just really spread out across campus"

If any of you have visited UW, I'm sure you can relate. I promise this isn't a freshman just being a freshman, this campus is huge, y'all and unfortunately, getting to class isn't the hardest part.

This university prides itself on its curriculum and the type of students it admits. Sometimes getting a paper turned in on time means we don't sleep one night, but hey, that's the price we pay! We all have to learn to adjust.

Roichelle says so far the hardest part for her has been "the classes and "how the teachers aren't as guiding. In high school, the teacher explains what is expected. In college, you're just in a lecture and he talks, and you have to take notes and in a few weeks you have a paper due on what he said."

I know for a fact that I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast most days, so you can imagine how difficult it can be for us to recall what our professors said three weeks ago.

On a lighter note, I asked Roichelle what the easiest part of college has been. She paused to ponder, sighed, looked me dead in the face and said "There's really no easy part about it."

I immediately laughed because although I have only spent a few months with Roichelle, I still know a few very solid attributes about her - she can nap ANYWHERE (and I mean anywhere y'all, as a fellow napper myself, I am often quite impressed) and also, every word that comes out of her mouth is exactly what she is thinking. It is funny, honest, and real. And for that, we love her.

Roichelle says for now she is focused on fully rehabbing her Achilles and is working toward a 3.0 GPA for her freshman year. As all freshman eventually do, she has learned the "do not procrastinate" lesson. 

I would say that means she's already half way to that goal. Her situation is a little different due to her injury, but for now she says her role is to "encourage everyone". If what I have observed already continues, I have no doubt 'Trouble 1' will not only achieve, but surpass all of her freshman year goals.

As for having to watch 'Trouble 2' play everyday while she has to sit, Roichelle says "I'm happy for Cayla! She's my friend and I want her to do well."

Personally, I'm very happy I get another year to play with this girl. She is goofy and quick to give her opinion, but she is a hard worker, a great teammate, and she is going to do amazing things in a Badger jersey.

If any of y'all watched the Vanderbilt game or looked at a stat sheet, you can tell Cayla McMorris is adjusting quite well on the court. Our little diaper dandy finished with 11 points and grabbed four rebounds in just 18 minutes.

 

When we sat down, she mentioned the college style of play made her a little nervous. "The bigger girls, and how strong they are" was the biggest difference college basketball has shown her so far.

She already has the speed and skills that college basketball demands, which gave her a huge advantage coming to Madison, but it is rare for a freshman to have the strength required to compete.

That's what the summer before our freshman year is for. She agrees all of those early mornings will be worth it "to win a Big Ten tournament and to get to the NCAA tournament."

But the reigning Minnesota AAA state champion doesn't want to stop there, with dreams of earning first-team All-Big Ten honors one day. I would have to say she is on the right track.

If there was a Ms. Popular award in college, she would probably be on the right track for that too.

I had a hunch about what she would say the easiest adjustment to college was. "Meeting new people, it's easy to get to know other athletes, because we spend so much time in the same places." Needless to say, I wasn't surprised.

If you've ever had a conversation with Cayla, then you've probably heard her laugh, or make some joke (probably about you). If you've ever seen her play, then you should be excited for the future of Badger women's basketball.

Our squad returns quite a few veterans this year, but Cayla's age hasn't proved to be the slightest of a problem on the court. In fact, she says its "helpful because it brings maturity to the team, and I look up to them. It means I have to step up. I know the bar is set at a high level."

There aren't many of them, but our freshman are more than ready and able to take on the responsibilities of college basketball. Both of these players described being a Badger as a blessing and I could not agree more. College is a journey, but college basketball is a journey for the tough, the disciplined, and the talented future. If I were y'all, I would get your season tickets now.

Catch y'all next week!

Oh and Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble

-Shannon Malone

What is the link between the best shooters in UW women's basketball history?

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The answer is not technique or physical attributes. They came from different eras and have a variety of heights and body types.

No, the answer is....they are 'nearly' all from small towns.

Of the top-five 3-point shooters in UW's career category, four of the five are from towns of less than 5,000 people. 

At No. 1 is fabled shooter, Jolene Anderson who was from tiny Port Wing, Wis. (pop. 250); No. 2 is Katie Voigt of metropolitan Woodruff, Wis. (pop. now 4,918); at No. 4 is Stephanie Rich, who grew up on a farm outside Crawfordsville, Iowa (pop. 327 at its peak in 1999); and fifth is Dolly Rademaker of Thorp, Wis. (pop. 1,753).

The exception coming in at No. 3 is Kyle Black (Rechlicz), who was a gym rat from Indianapolis and now is head women's basketball coach at Milwaukee.

This common link made these players excel for a very good reason. In a small town, you invent your own fun and to these athletes, the most fun was shooting hoops.

I know this because I am from a small town, and that was a passion of mine, too, until the ankles gave out and I turned to golf instead. In a small town, there is a hoop in nearly every driveway (or on the barn for Stephanie), and a game of H.O.R.S.E. is easily generated.

I bring this to your attention because Rademaker is going to be honored next week for that shooting prowess among other talents. She will be inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Oct. 13 in Madison. The four-year letterwinner from 1990-94 played in 111 games as a Badger, averaging 7.4 points per game. She is the first UW player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since girls' were included in 2010.

Dolly was an all-state guard and Miss Wisconsin Basketball award winner that drew the attention of a lot of college recruiters. But she wanted to play for her home state school and found a place in the varsity lineup almost from the beginning.

As a senior in high school, she averaged 28.7 points per game. With the tougher defenses in college, that figure dropped considerably, but not the accuracy. Dolly still owns the school record for best 3-point shooting percentage in a season hitting 43.8 percent of her shots (63-144) in 1993-94. She also has the fourth-best 3-point percentage in a season at 40.5 in 1990-91.

More than the stats, Dolly also made her mark in the classroom where she earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three years. She graduated with a degree in physical therapy and works as a therapist in Menomonie, Wis., where I am sure she is teaching that deadly stop-and-pop shot to her three children - Brock, Shelby and Brody.

Congratulations to Dolly Rademaker Thornton on this wonderful honor. It shows that being from a small town doesn't prevent one from dreaming big and accomplishing those goals and even making it to a Hall of Fame!

NOTE: Dolly Rademaker is just the ninth girl player and the first UW-Madison player in the WBCA Hall of Fame. Click here for full listing.

 Most UW Career 3-Point Goals

 1. Jolene Anderson        248         2004-08

 2. Katie Voigt                234         1993-98

 3. Kyle Black                191         1998-02

 4. Stephanie Rich          182         2002-05

  5. Dolly Rademaker       173         1990-94

 

Author Tamara Flarup was the long-time Director of Women's Sports Information at Wisconsin from 1977-2001, and today continues to work in the athletics program as the Director of Website Services and home blogger for women's basketball. She was the sports information contact during Dolly's reign.


Thansgiving, Badger style

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For much of the country, Thanksgiving means spending time with family, watching NFL games on TV and eating copious amounts of food. For a number of Wisconsin student-athletes, coaches and staff members, Thanksgiving bore a striking resemblance to "Thursday" on their daily schedules.

That's not to say they didn't celebrate the holiday, just that it may have been in a slightly different fashion than most people are used to.

For the second year in a row, the Badger football team is hosting a football game on Thanksgiving weekend with enormous ramifications on the Big Ten race. Last year, UW pounded Northwestern on its way to earning a share of the Big Ten title. This Saturday, Wisconsin and Penn State meet to determine the Leaders Division representative in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship game.

Because of that, the Badgers had a regular practice on Thursday, although a little earlier in the day. The early start time allowed those players who live locally (more than 50 players on the roster from Wisconsin) to get home for a quick Thanksgiving meal. For those not so fortunate or those choosing to spend it with their other "family," the team dined at Samba, an all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse in downtown Madison. Hopefully they ordered some extra beef for the evening.

MBB_1.JPGAs you can see from the photos, the men's basketball team also ate as a team today. The Badgers are in Hoffman Estates, Ill., getting ready to play Bradley on Friday in the Chicago Invitational Challenge. After practicing at the Sears Centre, UW headed back to the team hotel for a little turkey and stuffing. It may not be as exotic as the Thanksgiving meal we had in South Padre Island in 2006 but I'm sure there was plenty of good food for the guys tonight.

The women's basketball team is also on the road, albeit a little further from Madison than Chicago. After playing at BYU on Wednesday, the Badgers are in Boulder, Colo., as they prepare to take on Montana State on Friday in the Colorado Omni Classic. They also practiced earlier in the day and had a team "feast" at the hotel. As you can see from the photo below, it looks like a good time was had by all. In addition to the video above, check out some other WBB players talking about what they're thankful for.

WBB.JPGBoth UW hockey teams are at home this weekend, as is the volleyball team. Like the football team, the men's hockey team let players who live close enough go home for a quick meal after practice. Some guys tagged along to eat with their buddies while the rest of the squad ate as a team at the Coliseum.

With six UW teams in action this weekend, their Thanksgiving traditions may have been put on hold. However, Badger fans everywhere are hoping to be thankful for some victories once the weekend comes to a close.

Big Ten Media Day in Tweets

The 2011-12 basketball season is only a couple weeks away, but things got underway on Thursday afternoon with the annual Big Ten Media Day in Chicago.

The official Twitter accounts of @BadgerMBB and @BadgerWBBall provided coverage throughout the day, but in case you missed it, we've compiled a recap of the day's events

Gilreath runs away with fan vote

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After a week of voting, Badgers fans have spoken with their pick for the top play of the 2010-11 season. In reality, the contest was probably over before it started.

The play that got the football Badgers' thrilling 31-18 win over No. 1-ranked Ohio State "underway with ... a ... bang" ran away with nearly half the votes.

David Gilreath's 97-yard return for touchdown on the game's opening kickoff claimed 48.7 percent of the vote to take the title in the UW Athletics 2010-11 Play of the Year poll.

Runner-up honors -- with 27.2 percent of the fan vote -- went to women's hockey's Kelly Nash, who tallied the game-winner in overtime to secure the WCHA Final Face-off crown over Minnesota.

Josh Gasser's buzzer-beating 3-pointer garnered 9.5 percent of the vote to finish third, and Landon Peacock's last-gasp pass for the Big Ten cross country title was fourth with 5.3 percent. Justin Schultz's overtime game-winner for the Badger men rounded out the top five with 4.3 percent.

Here's a look at the complete poll results:
48.7%  David Gilreath - Football - Opening kickoff return for TD vs. Ohio State (Oct. 16)
27.2%  Kelly Nash - Women's Hockey- OT game-winner in WCHA Final Face-Off (March 5)
9.5%   Josh Gasser - Men's Basketball - Buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Michigan (Feb. 23)
5.3%   Landon Peacock - Men's Cross Country - Late pass to win Big Ten title (Oct. 31)
4.3%   Justin Schultz - Men's Hockey - OT game-winning goal vs. Canisius (Jan. 8)
3.5%   Brad Nortman - Football - Fake punt to keep drive alive vs. Iowa (Oct. 23)
1.4%   Lin Zastrow - Women's Basketball - Game-tying tip-in at buzzer vs. Wyoming (Dec. 15)

And, in case you want to see it again, the top play in UW sports for 2010-11:


Play of the Year Nominee: Lin Zastrow

Vote: UW Athletics 2010-11 Play of the Year

Our look back on the top plays of 2010-11 continues Saturday as we look back on the play that kept the Badgers alive for an overtime period that allowed them to finish the non-conference slate with a big road win.

Is it your choice for the best of 2010-11? Feel free to vote once per day for your favorite play, and we will announce the winner Wednesday, June 29.


Lin Zastrow - Women's Basketball
Game-tying tip-in at buzzer vs. Wyoming (Dec. 15)

The Badgers grabbed a key road win at Wyoming in their non-conference finale, but the 63-59 victory wouldn't have been if not for a clutch play from their senior leader. The Badgers had their chance for the final shot of regulation, but Alyssa Karel's jumper with 12 seconds remaining rimmed out. Fellow senior Lin Zastrow played hero, however, tipping in the rebound to push the contest to overtime.

The Voice: Storylines abound as march to March begins

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgWe begin today's blog with a tip of the cap to the Wisconsin women's basketball team, which begins the week tied for first place in the Big Ten. Among the highlights so far this season is coming back from a 16-point deficit to win at Minnesota.

It is a big week of hoops at the Kohl Center. On Thursday night, the women host third-place Michigan State. Beyond the obvious importance of the game in the league race, head coach Lisa Stone is on the brink of 500 career wins. She picked up number 499 on Sunday when the Badgers beat Northwestern in Evanston.

If you have not seen the women's team in action, Thursday would be a good time to start. Tip time is 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.

If you are a student, why wouldn't you go? It is "UW Student Night," when simply showing a valid student ID gets you in for free. Plus, you will get a voucher for a free hot dog and a soda, while supplies last.

Free is good. It is one of my favorite words. Hopefully many will take advantage of the opportunity.

Archived Blog: Women's Basketball vs. BYU

Allison Metcalf Chronicled all the action from the Wisconsin women's basketball team's game against BYU on Nov. 26, 2010. 

Blog: Badgers travel on Thanksgiving

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While most people are spending time with their friends and family on Thanksgiving, the Wisconsin women's basketball team is preparing for two games this weekend.

As the team was en route to the West Coast for the Concord Hilton Thanksgiving Classic in Moraga, Calif., UWBadgers.com caught up with some of the players and coaches to find out what they are thankful for.

ON WISCONSIN