The week for No. 25 IU women’s basketball started with the team being placed in the Associated Press Top 25 for just the fifth time in program history.
However, it was not smooth sailing from there for IU as the team lost Thursday at Ohio State 55-50. At 14-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play, IU sits in fourth place in the Big Ten standings heading into a Sunday afternoon matchup at Wisconsin.
Here are three things to know before tipoff.
1. The Hoosiers will look to bounce back
The Hoosiers are playing off a loss for only the second time this season. After starting the season 10-0, IU suffered their first loss against Grambling State University in the Puerto Rico Classic.
Despite the loss, IU showed its ability to bounce back by coming out the next day and defeating a University of South Dakota team that was receiving votes in the AP poll.
IU will look for that same mentality Sunday against Wisconsin as the team has the opportunity to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this season. Dating back to last season, the Hoosiers have not dropped two consecutive games since losing to then-No. 10 Ohio State and then-No. 14 Maryland on Jan. 13, 2018 and Jan. 16, 2018.
IU will have a good chance to get a win, as Wisconsin has not won more than three Big Ten games each of the last three seasons. IU leads the all-time series 48-23.
2. Wisconsin thrives inside
Only two players average more than eight points per game for the Badgers, and they are forwards Imani Lewis and Marsha Howard.
Lewis, a 6-foot-1-inch freshman, averages 12.6 points per game. Since joining the Badgers, Lewis has scored in double figures in 13 of 16 games this season.
Her highest scoring total of the season came in the team’s last game against Iowa. Behind an efficient 10-15 shooting, Lewis lead the team with 22 points while collecting 11 rebounds and two steals.
While Lewis’ career is off to a hot start, Howard’s is coming to a strong end. The senior from Chicago is averaging 12.4 points per game along with 9.7 rebounds per game. Last season, Howard was named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, but has been inconsistent in conference play this season.
Howard’s strongest Big Ten outing came Jan. 3rd when she scored 20 points at Penn State, but she has averaged less than five points per game in the other three conference contests.
3. IU will need its usual leaders to show up
Juniors Ali Patberg and Brenna Wise have been the leaders for IU all season. Patberg has contributed all around, scoring close to 18 points per game while collecting around 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game.
Wise has been a reliable player when IU needs a shot to fall, as she is averaging 13.5 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting from the field. She has also been important in late game situations as she is shooting 91.5 percent from the free throw line.
But against Ohio State, both struggled to lead the Hoosiers. The two combined for 14 points and 5-18 shooting. For Patberg, it was just the second time this season that she did not score in double figures. It was the third time she had five or more turnovers in a game.
For Wise, it was her fifth time scoring less than 10 points, but it was easily her worst shooting performance of the season.
If the two can be their usual selves against Wisconsin, IU should be able to improve to 4-1 in the Big Ten.
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