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Wisconsin women’s hockey: Daryl Watts is WCHA’s best; Badgers set to play Providence in NCAA Tournament

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A roundup of women’s hockey news ahead of the NCAA Tournament.

The best dang player in the country.
Tom Lynn

This past week has been full of women’s hockey news and between being outraged about Bo Boroski and covering the actual games/trophies that the Badgers were winning we have some catching up to do! Here is a roundup of some of the news you may have missed!

  • Daryl Watts continued her incredible season by winning the WCHA Forward of the Year AND the WCHA Player of the Year last week. Watts won the WCHA scoring title thanks to a 31-point season on 15 goals and 16 assists. Her 1.94 points-per-game average leads all NCAA players while her 31 points is the second-most in the country.

Wisconsin has now won this award three years in a row (Abby Roque in 2020 and Annie Pankowski in 2019).

  • Head coach Mark Johnson was also named WCHA Coach of the Year, the ninth time in his 18-year career that he has won the award. His Wisconsin team has faced top-seven opponents 10 different times this season, and emerged victories in six of those contests. He leads a roster that features two Top-10 Patty Kazmaier finalists, seven All-WCHA honorees and the WCHA’s Forward of the Year.
  • The NCAA Tournament selection show was on Sunday night and the Badgers, who automatically qualified by winning the WCHA Final Faceoff, were named the No. 2 overall seed. Their first game will be on Tuesday, March 16, with a quarterfinal bout against the Providence Friars, out of Hockey East, at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa. The game will stream live on NCAA.com.

Providence earned an at-large bid to the tourney after losing to No. 1 Northeastern in the Hockey East Championship game. Here is the rest of the bracket which, you may notice, does not contain the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The Gophers probably have a pretty good reason to be upset about missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy laughing at them, right? The Badgers will make their eighth-straight NCAA tournament appearance, which is now the longest active streak in the country.

“Our team was very excited to see the NCAA schedule, especially given the year we’ve had,” senior co-captain Brette Pettet said. “We’ll start preparing for Providence this week and come into this first game with the same mentality we’ve had all year.”