Banks, who was sidelined with a leg injury and missed the Badgers' two exhibition games, only returned to practice Tuesday, but was in the starting lineup Friday and contributed 15 points and seven rebounds. The Indianapolis, Ind., native's most significant impact, however, did not show up on the stat sheet.
Banks took a charge on the first possession of the game, giving the Badgers an emotional lift from the start against a school that is located only a few miles from Banks' home. She then grabbed an offensive board on the ensuing possession; the opening minute providing a glimpse of what the next 39 minutes would hold.
"Having recruited her myself [I thought] she will probably be in the lineup and sure enough she was…," IUPUI head coach Shann Hart said. "I think [Banks] is just outstanding on both ends of the [court]. I was…concerned about her beating us and she…did."
Banks joined fellow true freshman guard Anderson in the UW starting lineup, as well as junior forward Jordan Wilson, senior guard Stephanie Rich and senior forward Ebba Gebisa. Last season's leading scorer, junior guard Ashley Josephson, played 19 minutes off the bench and scored seven points.
"We could certainly start a lot of different people and I like that… ," UW head coach Lisa Stone said. "I wanted to get a different start to the game than we have had in the past and it answered the way I wanted it to."
Anderson's performance may have been overshadowed by Banks' return, but she led the Badgers with 11 rebounds and a game-high 20 points. She also tied teammate Rich for a game-high with five assists.
Anderson's sharp shooting in the first half, when she made 7-of-12 field goals, helped the Badgers jump out to a commanding 47-17 halftime lead.
Together Anderson and Banks helped execute a smothering Wisconsin press that cause 17 first-half turnovers and led to numerous fast break opportunities. The frosh duo meshed from the opening tip and the reality that the two have spent little time practicing together could not be detected from their play on the floor.
"Coming into this season me and Jolene didn't know each other…," Banks said. "I just think we see each other well on the floor and we just…know where each other [is] and I love playing with her."
The young Badgers' performance was not the most important aspect of Friday night's victory according to Stone and Wilson, who added 14 points and nine rebounds. Instead, the key component is the fact that the Badgers got the 2004-05 season off on the right foot and were able to gain some confidence before a four-game road trip that begins after the Badgers host Southern Illinois Monday.
"We have been taking baby steps to try to get our whole team together on defense and offense," Wilson said. "Every practice we have been working on a different aspect and today I think it really showed out there, everything thing we have been working on in practice."