"Coach Stone will be a big factor," senior guard Stephanie Rich said. "Just her coaching at Drake and having played against them and having won there will be a big factor and will hopefully give us a little boost."
For Rich, she is returning to her home state for the second-to-last time in her collegiate career. The 5-foot-11 senior is from Crawfordsville, Iowa, a little more than a two-hour drive from James Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
"Playing in Hilton is one of the best arenas atmosphere-wise we will see all year," said Rich, who has plenty of experience at that arena. "When I was in high school and went to their games and they were Final Four's and Sweet 16's that place got loud and that's just something we have to concentrate on."
The hostile environment will be just one of the obstacles Wisconsin (2-3) will have to overcome this weekend. The Badgers conclude their four-game road trip against the Cyclones (3-1), with three unsuccessful outings behind them.
"All four of these teams we're playing on the road were in the NCAA tournament last year and are picked to go there again," Stone said. "So the bar has been raised."
The Badgers will certainly be forced to raise the bar if they expect to salvage a 1-3 record on this road trip. Iowa State played solid basketball in its opening four games, the team's lone defeat coming on the road against undefeated Iowa. The Cyclones have proven they are capable of putting up huge offensive numbers as they are averaging 91 points per game this season, while allowing just 54.
"They have great shooters, tough inside game. They just kind of have a little bit of everything," Rich said. "They create for themselves. They play zone, it's not a lazy zone defense, it's an in your face pressure defense."
Wisconsin expects to recoup guard Ashley Josephson (7.0 points per game) against Iowa State. Josephson missed the Badgers last game, at Marquette, after suffering a neck injury in a game day shootaround.
The Badgers will return home to the Kohl Center for the first of a three-game home stand Dec. 8 against UW-Milwaukee.
What: Wisconsin (2-3) at Iowa State (3-1)
When: Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.
Where: Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa
Broadcasts: Live radio broadcast on WTSO-AM 1070 and at http://www.uwbadgers.com
Series notes: The all-time series is tied 3-3. The Badgers won 76-73 when the teams locked up last season in Madison and won the only previous meeting in Ames, an 84-70 decision in 1991.