The University of Wisconsin downed Minnesota State-Mankato 78-49 Friday evening in an exhibition game at Madison's Kohl Center. Badger fans got their first look at new coach Lisa Stone as Wisconsin used its superior size and a tenacious defense to beat the overmatched Mavericks who play in the NCAA's Division II.
Wisconsin controlled the paint against Mankato, dominating the boards and the inside scoring. UW outrebounded the Mavericks 43-22 and held a decisive advantage in points in the paint (40-12).
Rich, though, led the Badger offense from the perimeter, finishing with a game-high 29 points. Rich was six of 10 from beyond the three-point arc and added four rebounds, three steals, and two assists in a fine all-around performance.
"It was a wonderful display of what I think the fans are ready to see," Stone said. "It was exciting. I have great young women that come to work every single day, and I've worked them three hours a day from the get-go. They warmed up in the pre-game warm-up like it was the last game of the year, and that sends a great message to me. I believe in this team and it was a special night. The first one's over, and we're looking forward to the next one."
Senior center Emily Ashbaugh led UW down low, scoring 16 points on seven of eight shooting and grabbing five rebounds. Lello Gebisa contributed nine points and six rebounds, while Jordan Wilson recorded six points and six boards.
Newcomer Kandace Evans provided UW with a spark off of the bench, contributing five rebounds, four points, and three assists.
Guard Kelli Freeman led the Mavericks with 20 points, including four three-pointers. Stacie Johnson and Hannah Stolba were also in double figures with ten points apiece. Arin Andrews led Mankato with six rebounds.
Wisconsin continues its exhibition schedule with a game against the Wisconsin Viking Club, an AAU select team that lists several former Badgers, including Krista Bird, Dee Dee Pate, and Karie Cattanach on its roster. Tip-off is set for Tuesday, November 11 at 7:00 PM in the Kohl Center.