When: Sunday, Feb. 1, 3:30 p.m.
Site: Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.
Broadcasts: Fox Sports Net North, WIBA radio 1310 and online at www.uwbadgers.com.
Series Notes: Wisconsin leads the all-time series 27-23.
The challenge never seems to end for the Wisconsin women's basketball team. After falling 58-42 to No. 6 Purdue last Wednesday, the Badgers will host No. 14 Minnesota at the Kohl Center on Sunday.
Last season's lone match-up between the two teams was one that Wisconsin would like to forget. The Badgers traveled across the border into Williams Arena and received a 76-53 beating from the Gophers. The win came with ease for Minnesota, thanks to center Janel McCarville's 21 points and 10 rebounds. Wisconsin tried to stay in the game with guard Stephanie Rich's team-high 14 points and center Lello Gebisa's double-double (11 points, 10 boards) but the Gophers' 26-12 run to close out the first half was too much for the Badgers.
This time the Badgers hope to find an answer to McCarville, now a junior, whom many teams have difficulty stopping on the inside. The Stevens Point native averages 15.6 points a game and the Big Ten lead with 9.9 rebounds a game. Minnesota also boasts the rights to senior guard Lindsay Whalen. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Week (Dec. 8 and Jan 5) is near the top of the conference with her 21.2 points, 5.2 assists and 46.2 3-point field goal percentage.
Throughout the season Wisconsin has seen various players rise up in each game. Against Purdue, Lello played in her native West Lafayette and did not disappoint, earning her fourth double-double this season with 17 points and 10 boards. Her continued dominance in the middle will be necessary as the Badgers attempt to silence McCarville. The Badgers will also need consistent play from Rich in order to compete with the Gophers. Her 6.3 assists per contest are a Big Ten best.
After the Badgers take on Minnesota, it is again time to leave the Kohl Center. Their next two contests will take them eastward into Michigan in hopes of finding their first conference road win. Wisconsin will meet No. 18 Michigan State Feb. 5 and face Michigan Feb. 8.
- Wisconsin has won 15 of the last 19 games since 1995 but Minnesota has taken three of four of the last four.
- Lello will rejoin the starting lineup Sunday, following her third stint as a reserve. The lineup that includes Lello, junior forward Ebba Gebisa, Rich, sophomore forward Jordan Wilson and sophomore guard Ashley Josephson is 2-0.
- Minnesota is certainly having no difficulty scoring The Gophers' 75.1 points per game leads the Big Ten while Wisconsin is close to the underbelly of the conference with its 59.0 average. The Gophers also boast 51 percent accuracy in field goals.
- Last time Minnesota stepped into the Kohl Center, the Badgers were No. 5 in the nation and were on a school record 15-game winning streak; with the 92-85 loss to the Gophers, Wisconsin went on a six-game losing streak.
- Wisconsin is 0-4 this season against nationally ranked teams.
- This will be the 51st meeting between these two teams, the longest rivalry Wisconsin has in the conference.