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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Badgers intent on postseason success

There are only two tournament teams in Division I women's basketball that ended their season the way they wanted - with a win.\nFirst is Connecticut and its legendary march to the NCAA championship.\nThe second team is Wisconsin.\nAfter winning five consecutive games, including a 75-74 win against Florida to claim the 2000 WNIT title, the Badgers look to make another postseason run in March of 2001. The difference is that this time they plan to dance in the other postseason tournament.\n"We had one winning season in 11 years before I came in," said Wisconsin coach Jane Albright, entering her seventh season in Madison. "I think we have raised the bar in a lot of areas, and I think we have to raise it again."\nThe Badgers return their entire frontcourt from last season, the tallest in the Big Ten. The trio also happens to be Wisconsin's top three returning scorers and rebounders.\nSenior forward LaTonya Sims leads the charge as the Badgers biggest threat down low. Last year, she averaged more than 14 points and nearly nine boards per game en route to a 21-12 season. \nSims said she hopes the experience of winning the WNIT can translate into more positive things this year.\n"When it came down to tournament time, we were a really good tournament team," Sims said. "I was sitting on the bench of the first NIT game, and it was amazing … we were so together. Why couldn't we do this in the beginning of the year? Everybody knows we're a good tournament team. Now we have to prove that we're a good season team."\nAlong the front line, juniors Jessie Stomski and Tamara Moore are returning. Moore played point guard most of the season, but will likely move into the backcourt to offset the losses of the Badger's two starting guard to graduation.\nThe Badgers first three games are representative of the difficult nonconference schedule they face. Wisconsin opens its season at NC State in a four-team tournament. They then travel home for a match against Notre Dame in the Coaches for Cancer Tournament.\nIn all, their 10-game pre-conference schedule includes six teams that received votes in the preseason Associated Press poll, including Tennessee, Georgia and Notre Dame, who is ranked in the top six.\n"I sent the kids out a letter this summer," Albright said, "the first paragraph of the letter was Oregon, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Nebraska, Tennessee and Oklahoma.\n"That's all I had to say. It's probably too tough for this team, but there's no use in crying over it now."\nWhile most of the big guns in the Big Ten will be relying heavily on freshmen for minutes, the Badgers are loaded with experience. \nThat's a luxury many of the other Big Ten teams don't have, and it's something that conference coaches have noticed.\n"I think they're the favorite in the conference in many ways," Penn State coach Rene Portland said." You look up and down the conference, and you see freshmen that are going to be needed to score for teams. Wisconsin doesn't have that problem. They have so much experience that they're in the best shape of any of us"

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