"I'm happy to report that I am very happy with this basketball team," Stone said with a smile.
Why shouldn't she be? Simply put, Stone has Wisconsin playing some pretty good basketball, and they're only going to get better.
Wisconsin exploded offensively in the second half Sunday afternoon, outscoring Kansas 39-20 in the final 20 minutes, and clamped down defensively, holding the Jayhawks to one field goal in a 16-minute span, in a 68-41 trouncing over Kansas.
Coming out of halftime with a 29-21 lead, the Badgers (8-1) ran rampant over Kansas (4-2), going on a 28-6 scoring run that knocked all the wind out of the Jayhawks. Wisconsin was just as sound defensively in the second half, holding Kansas to 33.3 percent shooting, with most of the Jayhawks' second half points coming with the game well out of reach.
"We didn't answer Wisconsin's run," Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "We were abysmal offensively – bad shots in transition and turnovers in transition allowed them to shoot lay-ups in transition. You can't let anybody land the knockout punch and stand in their dazed and that's what we did."
"That was our best defensive performance this year against a very good offensive team," Stone said. "Our defensive was spectacular. We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different people."
One of the main reasons Wisconsin's defense shut down a very strong offensive club was the change in defenses Stone instituted midway through the first half. With Wisconsin's man-to-man defense being effective to an extent, Stone decided to throw Kansas a curveball, switching to a match up zone defense. The end result worked perfectly, as Kansas struggled to adjust the rest of the way.
"Our man-to-man defense is our bread and butter," Stone said. "I like to use a different type of defense out of timeouts or to start a half to disrupt the other team like we did tonight."
While the zone defense made the Badgers virtually unstoppable, Stone is looking forward to working on improving the zone defense, especially now that the Badgers get some extra time off.
"We've been on an NBA schedule where we have been doing a scouting report every other day," Stone said. "It will be nice now to have two practice days to tune up that match up zone defense.
"I'm not sure we're unstoppable yet," Stone added. "We still have a lot to work on."
After checking into the game with the Badgers up one, Dunham proceeded to score eight straight points for Wisconsin, with the final two buckets coming on back-to-back three pointers. In just over two minutes, Dunham turned the one-point margin into a comfortable seven-point Wisconsin advantage.
"I want to help my teammates as much as I could and after the first three, I just felt it," Dunham said. "Coach always says shoot to stay hot. It just came to me [tonight]."
"Her two threes and a drive was a huge spark for us," Stone said. "It caused Kansas to have to come out and deny her the basketball, which then gave us better vision inside. The option that Mariah brings to the table allows these three guards room to operate in cutting, passing and driving to the basket."
The Wisconsin women continue the third leg of their four-game home stand when the Badgers host Illinois-Chicago at 7p.m. on Thursday. The Flames are 3-3 on the season but are 0-2 against teams from the Big Ten, losing to Iowa and Northwestern. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since December 1994. The Badgers lead the all-time series 12-5.