Depth key to Badgers’ success

By on September 17, 2020

first_imgAs it often happens in sports reporting — and journalism in general — there is the tendency to write too much about some things while not devoting enough time to others. Just look at professional sports coverage: You hear about baseball, basketball and football all the time, but you hear very little about hockey.The same thing goes for players, those who get lots of attention and those who get next to none. The same principle can be found in the Wisconsin women’s hockey team.The big names on the team get plenty of attention, and it’s well deserved. They’re the one’s who make the headlines, rack up points and get their names tossed around for various awards.There’s senior forward Sara Bauer, who has amassed 62 points this season and is one of three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the best player in the nation. Yes, she won it last season, and if she receives it again she will become the only player to win the award in consecutive years. She gets all the attention she needs, despite her dislike for being in the spotlight.There are plenty of others who get plenty of attention: freshman Meghan Duggan, recently named to the All-WCHA second team and rookie team, has recorded 47 points this season; Jinelle Zaugg, a prolific goal scorer and Meaghan Mikkelson, one of the top ten contenders for the Kazmaier Award.Duggan gets plenty of attention, but the freshman class has more than just one player. Although some players don’t receive a ton of attention, they still make substantial contributions to the team.”The freshmen have stepped up and have really played their role well this year,” team captain Bobbi-Jo Slusar said. “I think that’s really crucial to our success. Everybody has got to play their role and be on the same page.”The freshman class has certainly pulled its weight this season. Duggan is tied for fourth in the conference in points, while Kyla Sanders has quietly recorded 19 points (12G, 7A), playing most of the season alongside Bauer and Zaugg.Sanders, who didn’t start playing hockey until age 11, is a natural goal-scorer despite coming from the non-hockey-hotspot of Florida. In the span of two years, she recorded 75 goals and 58 assists.Jasmine Giles has collected 15 points (7G, 8A) this season, playing with sophomores Angie Keseley and Erika Lawler. Giles, a native of Ottawa, Ontario, was named her high school MVP for all four years.Emily Kranz, a native of Waukesha, has scored 10 points (5G, 5A), the fewest points among freshmen, and believes the key to her class’ success has been their ability to form a cohesive unit.”As a freshman class, I think we’ve really earned our spots on the team and proven ourselves,” Kranz said. “We’ve meshed pretty well as a freshman class. … We just keep working hard.””They all bring really important things — I think they’re really strong freshmen,” Slusar said. “They just have great attitudes, they’re always positive and they know their role. … On and off the ice, they’re a huge part of this team, and they’ve really stepped in well.”Relatively anonymous players such as Sanders, Giles and Kranz can have a huge impact if they perform at the right time. It happened last season during the playoffs when sophomore goaltender Jessie Vetter, then the team’s third goalie, stole the show and became a brick wall taking the team to a national championship.The same phenomenon has already happened this season, with sophomore defender Rachel Bible coming up big in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Bible, who recorded just one goal and two assists her freshman year, had been relatively quiet this season until the first round against North Dakota. In that series she scored a crucial goal and added an assist for the first multi-point game of her career. She followed that up with Wisconsin’s final goal this past weekend against Minnesota in the conference championship game.The freshmen are perfectly capable of doing the same. Kranz was crucial in the game against Minnesota, tallying the game-winning goal.”It’s nice to see — Jessie [Vetter stepped up] last year and Kranz has stepped up and Meghan Duggan has stepped up; all of the freshmen have stepped up, and that’s exactly what we need,” Slusar said. “It’s going to be important for this next coming game.”last_img read more

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Luke Walton tells Lakers center Brook Lopez his minutes against Knicks were ‘unfortunate’

By on August 17, 2020

first_imgANIMATED RESPONSEWalton was far from surprised to learn Tuesday morning that Kobe Bryant’s animated short, “Dear Basketball” had been nominated for an Academy Award.“From what I’ve been told,” Walton said, “he works as hard on that stuff as he did as a player and he stays extremely busy doing all that. When he puts his mind to things, he’s obviously pretty good at finishing.”Walton played with Bryant from 2003-12, winning championships in 2009 and 2010.The Lakers showed the six-minute film during the halftime ceremony to retire Bryant’s jerseys on Dec. 18. Adapted from the poem Bryant wrote to fans when he announced his retirement in 2015, “Dear Basketball” was put in motion by longtime Disney animator Glen Keane and set to a score composed by Oscar winner John Williams.In December, the film was short-listed for an Oscar, and when it was mentioned to him that he could add the gold statuette synonymous with Hollywood prestige to his already teeming trophy case, Bryant told the Southern California News Group, “Just you saying that sounds ridiculous.”After Tuesday, it’s one step closer to reality.ZO IT GOESAs head-scratching as Lonzo Ball’s recovery has perhaps been, Walton insisted on Tuesday that the rookie point guard has suffered “no setbacks” since suffering a “minor” sprained left knee more than a week earlier.Ball will travel with the Lakers on their upcoming five-game trip, but Walton maintained his stance that he knows little else about the timeline of the injury.“No expectations,” Walton said. “When he’s healthy he’ll play.”Ball underwent an MRI in Memphis on Jan. 14, and has not undergone additional tests since then, Walton said. He was back on the treadmill Tuesday, continuing the progress he made over the weekend.“Just they did their MRI,” he said. “Their doctors got their hands on him, did the manual stuff. Besides that, he’s on the treatment program to get back to playing again.”PARK THE BUSSLakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss doubled down on her commitment to Walton, telling ESPN that Walton will remain the Lakers coach “period.”Appearing on “Buckets,” Buss was asked by host Cassidy Hubbarth if Walton would be the Lakers’ coach through next summer, a pivotal offseason in which the organization is expected to pursue elite All-Stars such as LeBron James and Paul George.“Absolutely,” Buss said. “Luke Walton is the Lakers coach, period. There’s no worrying about it, there’s no speculation. He’s done a terrific job. He is somebody that the entire front office, the organization is behind.”Buss has twice taken to Twitter and used the hashtag #InLukeWeTrust after criticisms from LaVar Ball and a report that the franchise could turn to former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale if a change was made. LOS ANGELES — Brook Lopez is in a situation unique to his 10-year career.His 21.2 minutes and 11.7 points per game are career-lows and there are nights when he barely impacts the game. Before scoring 14 points on Sunday, Lopez had gone five straight games without scoring in double figures.This from a player who has averaged better than 20 points five times in his career, including last season with Brooklyn. He was back in that rhythm on Sunday, until he was taken out of it.Lopez scored 11 points in the first quarter, but after that flurry was limited to just five more minutes on the court as the Lakers cruised to a 127-107 victory. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I told him it was unfortunate the way the game played out with his total minutes,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said, “but he did a great job of getting us going early, especially when it was just both teams scoring freely. Those shots he hit gave us some good confidence in that game and then the way that it played out.”In the second half, Walton stuck with a group that included Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., which found defensive success.“We stuck with our smaller bigs,” Walton said. “He was fine with it. Brook’s a solid veteran NBA player, so I think especially when he’s knocking down those shots he stabilizes our young group a lot.”He remains an important figure around the Lakers, however, with Walton citing Lopez’s work ethic as setting a standard for his young teammates.“Brook’s always the first one in here,” Walton said. “Brook’s in here before the lights are on most days so nobody’s going to beat him on that.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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