UWM Looks For Two-Straight League Road Wins
Jan. 23, 2004
Panthers Head To Historic Hinkle
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team is set to cap off the second part of a four-day, two-game road trip with a game at Butler University on Saturday (Jan. 24). The contest, which is set to begin at 3:00 p.m. CST, will be played at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler campus. The game will be the second of the year between the two schools as UWM claimed a 64-59 Horizon League win in Milwaukee on Jan. 8. Milwaukee is currently 7-8 overall and 4-1 in the league while the Bulldogs sit at 6-11 overall and 2-4 in league play.
Road Skid Ends In Dayton
It took eight games, but the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's hoops squad notched its first road win of the 2003-04 season with a 69-61 victory at Wright State University on Thursday (Jan. 22). After trailing 2-0 the Panthers led the rest of the way, with WSU cutting the lead to six, on just one occasion in the second half. Sophomore Nichole Drummond continued her offensive outburst, leading UWM with 17 points to go with seven rebounds. Maria Viall added 15 points, eight boards and two blocks. Kimberly Becker contributed 12 points and seven assists while Molly O'Brien added eight markers, ten caroms, and five assists. Jeanette Woodberry led all players with 20 points while Brittney Whiteside added 16 points and seven steals. The win marked UWM's 10th straight versus the Raiders.
Scouting the Bulldogs
One of the most improved teams in the Horizon League, the Bulldogs of Butler University come into Saturday's game with a 6-11 overall record and 2-4 mark in league action. Butler is led by sparkplug Nancy Bowden, the do-everything, lightning-quick point guard from Cincinnati, Ohio. Bowden, a senior, leads BU in scoring (10.9 ppg) while pacing the Horizon League in assists (6.2) and steals (3.5). Junior center Cortney Urquhart serves as the Butler low-post threat and averages 10.6 ppg and 5.6 rebounds per contest. The Bulldogs are coached by second-year mentor Beth Couture, who came to Indianapolis following an impressive ten-year run at Division III Presbyterian College. Milwaukee leads the all-time series 12-9, including victories in each of the last eight contests.
What's On Tap??
The miles will certainly continue to add up for the UWM women's basketball team. Following Saturday's game versus Butler, the road-weary Panthers will travel back to Milwaukee for a day before heading back on the road for a Monday (Jan. 24) showdown with instate rival University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The UWGB game will end a three-game in five day stretch for the Panthers, with all three games coming on the road. Following the Monday game with the Phoenix, UWM will host a pair of Horizon League games. Co-league leading University of Detroit comes to the Klotsche Center on Jan. 29 while Youngstown State University heads to Milwaukee for a Saturday (Jan. 31) contest.
Nailbiting Becomes Common For UWM
Close games appear to be the norm more than the exception for the UWM women's hoops squad in 2003-04. Of the 14 games UWM has played this season, eight have produced final margins of five-points or less. In Horizon League games, three of the Panthers' four contests have been of the five-point or less variety. Unfortunately, things haven't gone Milwaukee's way in the close games, as evidenced by a 3-5 record in such contests. The Cardiac Kids haven't given themselves much room for error of late as four of the last five games have been decided by five points or less with two games, a 58-55 loss to Marquette and last Thursday's two-point loss at Cleveland State, coming down to UWM's last offensive possession of the game. In the four games Milwaukee owns a 2-2 record.
Cleaning The Glass
In a continuation of last season, the 2003-04 Panther hoops unit is absolutely dominating Horizon League opponents on both the offensive and defensive glass. On the season, UWM owns a league-best +2.5 rebound margin, but that number has grown exponentially in league action. Through five conference games Milwaukee has grabbed 209 total rebounds to 160 for the opposition, good for a +9.8 league-leading margin. While the Panthers are clearly owning the defensive boards, it's the offensive glass where UWM is really excelling. Milwaukee has grabbed 81 offensive rebounds in the five games to just 58 O-boards for the opponents. Furthermore, UWM has held the opposition to just 102 defensive rebounds, just 21 more than Milwaukee has offensive boards.
Scoring In Bunches
Sure the game went an extra five minutes, but that doesn't shortchange the impressive offensive display against Loyola on Jan. 10. The Panthers scored a season-high 83 points in the win over the Ramblers, marking their highest offensive production since putting 83 on the board versus Wright State on Feb. 27, 2003. In fact, including Saturday's game, Milwaukee has reached the 80-point plateau just three times in the last two seasons. The Panthers drilled a season-high 23 free throws versus the Ramblers to go along with season-bests in total rebounds (46) and offensive rebounds (23).
Witte Goes Downtown
Don't look now, but UWM's Anne Witte is establishing herself as one of the premeir long-range shooters in the Horizon League. The sophomore from Mukwonago sits second on the team with 14 longballs on the season while sitting seventh in league only games with 1.60 trifectas per contest. Witte has really dialed in of late, nailing at least one three-pointer in six straight games while connecting on ten-of-22 (45.5%) during the stretch. Witte, who ranks as UWM's all-time leader in career free throw shooting, has drilled 40 three-ball's in her two-year career while shooting 36.0% from the arc.
Injury Bug Bites Freshman Leader
Reality sure can bite. Just ask UWM point guard Aubrey Hampton. The freshman floor general had been playing some of the best basketball of her young career before a knee injury more than likely ended her rookie season in the Horizon League. Hampton, who leads the Panthers in assists (3.5 per game) and free throw shooting (80.8), was averaging 10.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in Horizon League play before being hurt. The fearless Hampton injured her right knee on a drive to the basket versus Cleveland State and will miss the rest of the year with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the knee.
Taking Advantage of Charity
After fifteen games overall and five Horizon League games, the word is probably out: Don't foul UWM. Through 15 regular season games in 2003-04, Milwaukee has converted on 72.8% of their charity tosses. The Panthers have even turned that up a notch of late which has led to 77.6% marksmanship in the last ten games and 77.3% in Horizon League games. Frehsman guard Aubrey Hampton has led the way at the stripe thanks to 80.8% shooting before a season-ending knee surgery. Senior Maria Viall, who has shot a team-high 83 free throws on the year, owns a 75.9% mark, as does second-leading scorer Nichole Drummond.
Drummond Takes To The Offensive
With each passing game, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball player Nichole Drummond takes her game to a whole new level. The sophomore, who was named to the 2002-03 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team, has been scoring from all over the court and from all different angles since Horizon League play began in December. In the five league games, Drummond is second on the squad in scoring with an 11.8 average, thanks in large part to a 48.9% overall shooting percentage and 86.7% marksmanship from the free throw line. The Kenosha-native enjoyed maybe her finest game as a collegian on Thursday when she burned Wright State for a career-high tying 17 points and a season-high seven rebounds in 32 minutes of playing time. For the season, Drummond is averaging 8.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per contest.
League Race Congested
We are one-third of the way through the 2003-04 Horizon League season and one this is certain: there is still a lot of uncertainty. Thanks to home victories on Thursday, Cleveland State and Detroit pulled into a first-place tie with preseason favorite UW-Green Bay with 5-1 league records. Milwaukee currently sits second, just a half-game out with a 4-1 conference mark. After the top four teams who all are tied on the loss side, things begin to break as the next closest team, Wright State, owns a 3-4 record. Loyola currently sits in a sixth place tie with Butler, as both school's have identical 2-4 records. Illinois-Chicago is currently eighth with a 2-5 record while Youngstown State is in last place and winless with an 0-7 Horizon League record. UWGB leads all teams with an 11-5 overall record while Detroit and Cleveland State are both 8-8. No other team in the loop owns at least a .500 record.
League Tourney Comes To Milwaukee
On the heels of the hugely successful 2003 Horizon League Men's Basketball Tournament, the 2004 Horizon League Women's Tournament will look for similar excitement when it comes to Milwaukee in March. The tourney, which is scheduled for March 2-8 at the Klotsche Center, has changed formats from the previous years. The four quarterfinal games on March 4 will be held at the campuses of the top four seeds. If UWM is a top four seed and it wins it's quarterfinal game then the two semifinal battles and championship match will move to Milwaukee on Sunday, March 7 and Monday, March 8.
Panthers Are On The Air
Following the Milwaukee women's basketball team got a whole lot easier in 2003-04. Fans who aren't able to make it out to games this season will be able to follow nearly every UWM game thanks to radio and the internet. Beginning with both games at the Moran Realty Classic in Chicago, Milwaukee will broadcast 12 games on its new flagship station, WMCS-1290 AM, with another eight games available via Live Audio on www.uwmpanthers.com. Fans can follow live game action of every UWM home game via the GameTracker on the Athletic Website at www.uwmpanthers.
Coach Botham--Live And In Stereo
Exposure for UWM women's basketball coach Sandy Botham has increased exponentially this season. In addition to adding a slate of 20-plus games on either radio, television or the internet, coach Botham will also star in her own coaches show on both the radio and TV. The first of ten Sandy Botham TV shows will air Saturday night on Channel 41 in Milwaukee. The show, which will be hosted by CBS 58 Sports Director Rock Rote, will run every Saturday night during the season. Furthermore, Botham will be featured in her own radio show beginning Wednesday, January 28th. The show will be hosted by Dan Pfeifer, the voice of UWM women's basketball and will air on WMCS 1290-AM. All shows will take place live in the Gasthaus in the basement of the UWM student union.
For those that really want to get to know UWM All-America Candidate Maria Viall, nows your chance. The Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year has been selected by ESPN.com to keep a diary throughout the 2003-04 season. Viall will share her thoughts on the team, classes, life on the road, and what its like as a Division I women's basketball player. The Waukesha-native will report twice a month to the women's basketball section of the national sports website. Viall's fourth diary entry, which talks about her time at home during the Holiday sason and the squad's "secret santa" get together, is now online. Fans can read each diary by clicking on the Women's College Basketball Link from the ESPN.com homepage.