The Wisconsin Badgers were slow last year. Not by design, but more out of necessity.
“We didn’t have the fastest group last year,” UW head coach Marisa Moseley told me during our interview a few weeks ago. Moseley didn’t say this with any sort of scorn, it was just a statement of fact. She took a team, in her first year at the helm, and adjusted her system and playing style around the talent that was there.
“If we have any opportunity to get out [and run] I wanted them to,” Moseley mentioned. Playing at a slower pace than almost any other team in the country, and Wisconsin’s slowest pace as a team in the last decade, wasn’t Moseley’s ideal offense, but it was one that kept the team in games and allowed them to even win some. Wisconsin also shot three-pointers at a higher rate than any UW team in the Her Hoops Sports database, which goes back to the 2009-2010 season.
“I love to play inside/outside,” Moseley said when asked about her system, “but we didn’t have a great inside presence so that’s why we shot more threes.”
By the end of the season, the Badgers didn’t have a real post presence that they could even put on the floor. Wisconsin was playing a lineup with five guards for most of the game, with the 6-foot-1 Halle Douglass as the tallest player on the court for the Badgers. 6-foot-0 Brooke Schramek was used as the primary post defender, and in order to protect her from foul trouble and the like, Moseley had the team playing a decent amount of zone.
“Our zone ended up being pretty good by the end of the season and it was used to be able to protect Schramek as a post player,” Moseley noted to me.
With a new class of recruits coming on campus this summer, a couple of whom are legit post players, Moseley should have more cards to play when it comes to putting together lineups. She also wants to be more aggressive on defense. “I want to be able to press a little more and switch up defenses,” she said.
“The plan is to have a more balanced inside/outside scoring attack [next year],” Moseley stated firmly when I asked her what we, as Badgers fans, could expect next year.
One of the key players that will help the outside scoring attack is grad transfer Avery LaBarbera. The newest Badgers can light it up from beyond the arc but she also brings other talents to the table that Moseley is craving from recruits or transfers.
“I want highly competitive kids who are team-oriented and selfless. They are ideally high IQ and I want kids who get excited for other people’s success.”
This all comes back to the culture that she is trying to build in Madison. It starts from the top and all you had to do was watch one game to see that Moseley is highly competitive. The way she’d celebrate wins with her players shows that she is excited for other people’s success and is team-oriented.
She also has clearly been a basketball coach for a while because she added “diving on loose balls” as one of the traits she wanted in any new player. If they can dive on the floor quickly, all the better.