The Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball team (2-2 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) picked up their second win of the season in a dominant 80-60 win against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (0-4 overall) on Sunday afternoon.
After a first quarter that ended with UW holding a slim 15-13 lead, a big second quarter propelled the Badgers to a 41-30 halftime advantage in a strong performance just two days after their 70-65 loss against Rutgers.
“Our team did a great job on a quick turnaround, they were really locked in yesterday,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said.
It was probably the Badgers’ most complete performance to date. Four players ended up in double digits for scoring — unsurprisingly, sophomore guard Sydney Hilliard led the way with 18 — and Wisconsin shot 44 percent from the field including 42 percent from three.
Tsipis said that Wisconsin looked to get sophomore center Sara Stapleton going early and feed the post. Stapleton responded with her best game of the season as she had a season-high 16 points and nine rebounds, one shy of a double double.
Stapleton credited the outside shooting and ball movement as a factor for her success. Hilliard and sophomore guard Julia Pospíšilovà combined for 11 assists, opening up the paint for Stapleton.
“Our guards were making a lot of shots from the outside which really helped open up the inside for me to be able to score, and they were also making great passes in to me and giving me great angles to score,” Stapleton said.
Also promising for Wisconsin is posting a season low of 11 turnovers, which had been the problem in the Badgers’ early season showings. Star guard Sydney Hilliard said that the team is still looking to iron out the issues and play together in the early season and build toward the next games.
“We just want to keep building our chemistry. We’re still kind of getting into the swing of things and once our teammates come back that have been gone for a little bit, we’ll just have to build that chemistry back again and be ready for these next couple games,” Hilliard said.
UW will get that chance in a week, when the Badges are scheduled to play the Valparaiso Crusaders (3-2 overall) Sunday Dec. 20.