Panthers Look For Season's First Win Against Marquette
Jessica Wilhite and the Panthers look for the season's first win Tuesday night at Marquette

Jessica Wilhite and the Panthers look for the season's first win Tuesday night at Marquette

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Nov. 25, 2002

MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team will face cross-town rival Marquette Tuesday night, with both teams looking for their first win of the season. Game time is 6 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Arena in downtown Milwaukee.

The Sandy Botham File
A 1988 Notre Dame graduate, Sandy Botham is set for her seventh season at the helm of the UWM women's hoops program. The two-time MCC/Horizon League Coach of the Year owns a 97-72 career mark, good for a .577 winning percentage. Botham's teams have posted a 60-28 record in conference play, including regular season and tournament titles in 2000-01. Botham is the first coach in school history to lead UWM to the NCAA Tournament.

Scouting The Golden Eagles
Just like UWM, Marquette enters tonight's game 0-1 after dropping its season opener 80-62 to Dayton on Sunday (Nov. 24). Also similarly to the Panthers, MU struggled out of the gate and trailed 46-17 at halftime. Katie O'Grady, a 5-8 junior guard, paced the Golden Eagles with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Marquette shot 41.4% from the field on the game but committed 20 turnovers. MU boasts a young squad in 2002-03 with only two seniors on the 12-player roster. The Golden Eagles are coached by seventh year head coach Terri Mitchell.

Crosstown Rivalry
Tonight's game will mark the 36th meeting between the two Milwaukee rivals, with UWM holding the slightest 18-17 edge in the all-time series. However, MU has had the upper hand in the last few years, having won each of the last six games. UWM's last win in the series came on January 3, 1996. Current Milwaukee head coach Sandy Botham is winless in six games versus Marquette, including last year's heartbreaking 65-63 defeat in Klotsche Center.

Witte Sparks Panther Offense
Following her strong performance in the Panthers' exhibition game, freshman Anne Witte performed admirably in her collegiate debut versus Purdue. At 5-9, Witte spent most of her time running the offense while also seeing some action at the off-guard slot. On the night, the Mukwonago, Wis., native scored six points while posting a game-high four assists. Furthermore, Witte nailed both of her free throws while not committing a single turnover in 21 minutes of play.

Sophomore Forwards Crash The Boards
If one game is an indication, it looks as if rebounding may not be an sore spot in the UWM arsenal. Milwaukee got plenty of board support from its two sophomore forwards in the season-opening loss to Purdue. 6-3 Kimberly Becker paced all players with eight rebounds on the night, while the athletic Huff grabbed six boards in the game, five of which came on the offensive end. For the game, UWM's interior starters of Huff, Becker, and Maria Viall outrebounded Purdue's front line 20 to 13.

O'Brien Plays Well In Debut
The first-game jitters appeared to miss UWM freshman Molly O'Brien. The versatile 5-10 forward from Columbus, Wis., put together a solid Panther debut in Friday's game versus Purdue. O'Brien tallied seven points on 3-8 shooting including one three-pointer to go along with seven rebounds (four offensive) and two assists in 25 minutes of playing time.

Wilhite Delivers From Downtown
Senior guard Jessica Wilhite has established herself as one of the most prolific three-point shooters in school history. With three trifectas versus Purdue, the 5-8 guard now has 213 career treys, good for second all-time in program history. With 93 threeballs in 2000-01 and 65 more last season, Wilhite owns the top two spots on UWM's single-season three-pointers made list.

Viall's Block Party
It didn't take Maria Viall long into her junior season to etch her name into the UWM record books. The 6-3 junior center set a school-record by rejecting six Purdue shots in Friday's (Nov. 22) opener. Viall, whose previous career high was four, broke the school record of five accomplished most recently by Trina Rathke on Dec. 15, 1995, versus Northeastern Illinois.

Speaking Of 1,000 Points
In the Panthers' OT loss at UW-Green Bay on Jan. 26, 2002, senior guard Jessica Wilhite became the 12th player in school history to reach the 1,000 point plateau. With 9 points in the season opener, Wilhite now has 1,118 career points, good for eighth on the all-time list and third among Panther DI players. Ironically, Milwaukee's leading Division I scorer is current Director of Basketball Operations Jen Greger, with1,385 points. The following is a list of UWM's Top 10 all-time scorers:

	#	Name (Years)	Points
	1	Jaci Clark (1979-83)	1,830
	2	Umenia White (1985-89)	1,597
	3	Marsha Housley (1979-83)	1,497
	4	Jen Greger (1993-97)	1,385
	5	Daryl Schaffeld (1996-00)	1,310
	6	Rachel Mickelson (1986-90)	1,152
	7	Niki Flack (1989-93)	1,121
	8	Jessica Wilhite (1999- )	1,118
	9	Cammie Nonof (1985-89)	1,087
	10	Pam Bartnik (1990-94)	1,054

Youth Is Served
The 2002-03 season will serve as a baptism under fire for a large portion of the UWM women's basketball roster. The Panthers return only two starters from a year ago and five players who saw any playing time at all. In addition to three scholarship players, Sandy Botham's 12-player roster also includes three walk-on student athletes. Of the 11 healthy bodies for the season opener, only three, Maria Viall, Jessica Wilhite, and Antoinette Gregory, are upperclassmen.

Young But Talented
While the UWM roster may feature only three upperclassmen, a trio of Panther freshmen all come to campus highly-touted. All three of the 2001-02 Panther recruits are from the home state with two, Nichole Drummond and Molly O'Brien, earning All-State honors by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The third new Panther, Anne Witte, led her team to a state finals appearance while earning Honorable Mention All-State accolades.

Schedule Talk
According to the preseason Summerville RPI report released by the WBCA, UWM has one of the toughest non-conference schedule's in America . The 2002-03 Panther schedule is rated 23rd in the Summerville rankings, making it the toughest schedule of all Horizon League teams. In fact, Purdue is the only team on the schedule with a tougher non-conference slate then the Panthers. In addition to Purdue, UWM plays No. 10 Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State, and possible games with No. 5 Kansas State and Elite Eight finalist Arizona State.

Botham Inks Four In The Fall
Head coach Sandy Botham bolstered the future of her program with the signing of four players to National Letters of Intent. UWM signed 6-4 Nicole Almberg (Oshkosh, Wis.), 5-9 Beth Reckelberg (Luxemburg, Wis.), 5-9 Jessica Altieri (Lincolnshire, Ill.), and 5-7 Aubrey Hampton (Oak Park, Ill.)

 

 

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