Dec. 10, 2011
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team wraps up its five-game road trip with a visit to Norman, Okla., to take on No. 24/23 Oklahoma. The contest marks a first for UWM in program history - taking on nationally-ranked opponents in back-to-back games for the first time, having played at No. 1 Baylor Thursday. Tip off against the Sooners is 2 p.m. and the game is set to be televised locally on the Sooner Sports Network and also available in the Milwaukee area on ESPN3.com.
UWM Game Notes
Oklahoma Game Notes
Looking at Oklahoma
The Sooners are 3-3 after a 3-0 start, dropping three games in a row for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Following a preseason ranking of 13/16, the media has Oklahoma 24th in the Associated Press Poll and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll has Oklahoma at No. 23. Aaryn Ellenburg leads the team with 21.3 points per game, with Morgan Hook (13.5 ppg) and Whitney Hand (10.3) also in double-figures.
Oklahoma comes off a third straight Sweet 16 appearance and returns nine letterwinners from that squad. The Sooners must replace one of their most successful senior classes, one that claimed 54 wins at home, the most by Oklahoma in a four-year span.
The Panthers trail the series against Oklahoma, 2-0. A year ago, Milwaukee made it close down the stretch, but fell 76-59 at home.
All-American Brittney Griner scored 20 points and Odyssey Sims added a double-double of 19 points and 11 assists to lead top-ranked Baylor University to 72-41 victory over UWM Thursday night. The Lady Bears (9-0), ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls, opened up a close game against the Panthers (2-5) with a 14-0 first-half run that gave them the momentum they needed to extend their winning streak to 28 at home.
Ashley Green, making her first collegiate start, finished with a team-high 11 points and seven rebounds. Courtney Lindfors added seven points and six rebounds, with Sami Tucker scoring five points to go with her seven rebounds.
Taking on the Big Time
The Panthers headed into unprecedented territory on two fronts when they hit the court this week. First off, Milwaukee played a No. 1-ranked team for the first time in program history (previous high was No. 3 Duke in 2001 NCAA Tournament). Secondly, heading to No. 24/23 Oklahoma Sunday, UWM will also be playing back-to-back games against ranked foes for the first time in school history. The Panthers come into the OU game 1-27 overall against ranked opponents, taking then-No. 15/20 Michigan State to the wire in a 55-48 loss a year ago.
Hang Your Hat
The Panthers took on No. 1 Baylor Dec. 8 and have a couple of noticeable accomplishments to take from the game despite the loss. First off, UWM held the Lady Bears to their lowest scoring output of the season at 72 points (for a team averaging 90) and held All-American Brittney Griner four points and six rebounds below her season averages.
Junior Sami Tucker posted three-consecutive double-doubles, ending with 21 points and 11 rebounds at Western Michigan Dec. 3. The most recent comparable streak of consecutive double-doubles was a year ago when Lindsay Laur posted five in a row (Dec. 19-Jan. 6).
Taking Care of the Rock
Despite the loss at Drake Nov. 18, UWM managed a pair of bright spots: its seven total turnovers set a program mark for fewest in a game (record had been eight set three times). And, the 17 steals marked the most for the team since it had 18 against Butler in January of 2002.
Taking a deeper look, the Panthers committed fewer turnovers than their opponent in each of the first four games of the season. For perspective, the last time Milwaukee had fewer turnovers than its opponent for at least four games in a row was part of a five-game stretch in the midst of the 2004-05 campaign (Nov. 27-Dec. 12, 2004).
Angela Rodriguez was named to the Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team in the league's annual preseason poll of head coaches, media members and sports information directors.
In addition, College Sports Madness named Sami Tucker to its All-Horizon Second Team.
Milwaukee has its work cut out for itself in the non-league portion of its schedule. The Panthers opened the season against the Wisconsin Badgers and welcomed preseason No. 25 Michigan State to the Klotsche Center Nov. 22. A December road trip will be the ultimate test, playing at preseason No. 1 Baylor Dec. 8 and following that up with a game three days later at No. 16 Oklahoma. They will also face a Toledo squad Dec. 18 that won the WNIT a season ago.
Inside of league play, they will battle Horizon League foe Green Bay twice, with the Phoenix coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in 2010-11 and earning a preseason ranking of No. 24.
Kiki Wilson became just the 12th freshman to start a season opener in UWM's NCAA Division I history Nov. 11. A season ago, Angela Rodriguez and Courtney Lindfors also earned that distinction.
Ashley Green scored 12 points and Courtney Lindfors scored 10 to help lead a balanced attack for the team in a 62-40 victory over Lewis University. The Panthers scored 14-consecutive points early in the second half to put the game away, with Green's layup with 11:32 to play giving Milwaukee a 48-25 advantage. The Flyers would cut the deficit to less than 20 points just once the rest of the way in the exhibition opener for both teams.
Youth is Served
The Panthers will indeed be a young squad this season, with the projected starting lineup being comprised of two juniors, two sophomores and one freshman. In addition, six newcomers join Milwaukee in 2011-12, with sophomore Emily Decorah ready to play after sitting out a season ago due to transfer rules and five true freshmen ready to start their collegiate careers.
A Case of the Runs
The game against Western Illinois Nov. 26 featured several impressive scoring runs by both teams. Milwaukee started the barrage with a 16-2 run where it held WIU without a field goal (two free throws) on 16 attempts to take control in the first half. Down 10 at intermission, the Leathernecks went on a 12-2 spurt to tie the game in less than two minutes. UWM then responded with runs of 11-3 and 15-2 to put the game away.
Head of the Class
Angela Rodriguez was named the league's newcomer of the year with good reason. She led all league freshmen in a number of categories, averaging 12.6 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game. In fact, her points per game average was 1.9 points better than second place, while no other league freshman averaged even half as many assists. She also topped the league rookies in minutes per game (36.7), free throw percentage (.857) and three-point percentage (.421) and was second in threes made per game (2.2). In the nation, she was second among freshman in three-point percentage. Rodriguez broke the UWM freshman record for threes made in a season, was second in games started, and first in free throw percentage and minutes played. Among freshman guards in school history, she was also first in points, field goals made and scoring average.
Whole Lotta Threes
UWM broke the school record for three-pointers a year ago, finishing with 212 to break the old mark of 204. Milwaukee also hit a league-best 36.4 percent from downtown. The team finished 19th in the country in three-point percentage and 30th with 7.1 made per game.
Trial by Fire
Angela Rodriguez and Courtney Lindfors combined to make 50 starts last season, with Rodriguez starting 29-of-30 games a year ago. When they were in the starting lineup against Oklahoma together, they became the first freshmen duo in the program's Division I era to start a season opener for the Panthers.
Courtney Lindfors went off for 35 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in just her second collegiate game at Chicago State Nov. 16. She became the first freshman in school history with a 30-point game and posted the fastest first career double-double (2nd game). In addition to establishing a freshman single-game scoring record, Lindfors tied the sixth-most points in a game in school history. The former record for points in a game by a freshman was 28 by Daryl Schaffeld (Feb. 6, 1997) and Edwards (Feb. 25, 2006). Her 35 points tied for a Horizon League single-game high last season.
A-Rod's Early Impression
Angela Rodriguez had a 25-point outburst Dec. 1 against Bradley, draining six 3-pointers and coming away with three steals in 44 minutes. Her six 3-pointers were the most by a freshman, and tied for sixth in school history, while her 44 minutes were a freshman record. Rodriguez also paced Milwaukee with 16 points and seven rebounds in 39 minutes played in the season-opener vs. Oklahoma. Her 16 points were the second-most by a freshman in a season-opener in school history (Daryl Schaffeld, 17), while her seven rebounds tied for the most (two other times). Also, just two other freshmen have played even 30 minutes in a season opener, while just one player ever had played 39--Jen Greger as a sophomore in 1994-95. A freshman has led the team in scoring in a season-opener twice and rebounding twice, but no other freshman had ever led the team in both.
Lindsay Laur was named to the All-Horizon League First Team and Angela Rodriguez was named the League Newcomer of the Year last season. Courtney Lindfors was also honored, being named to the All-Newcomer Team with Rodriguez.
Back in Black (and Gold)
UWM will be fortunate to have experience on the court in 2011-12 as four starters and seven letterwinners return from last season. Heading the list of returners is Angela Rodriguez, named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year a season ago after averaging 12.6 points per game. The Panthers return three of the top four scorers from 2010-11, with Courtney Lindfors (9.2 ppg in 21 starts) and Sami Tucker (9.0 ppg in 27 starts), also back in 2011-12.
Live and in Living Color
Fans will have the opportunity to watch the Panthers all season long. The team will play six games on television, returning to Time Warner Sports 32 for five games. UWM's game at Oklahoma will also be featured on the Sooner Sports Network (with a fee).
Another 18 games will be carried live online on the Horizon League Network. For the Panthers' Sports 32 contests, Bob Brainerd and former UWM great Maria Viall will once again be calling the action.
Hit Us at 920 on the Dial
Every Milwaukee regular season game will once again be available on the radio and online via AM 920 The Wolf. Scott Warras is back for his sixth season donning the headset. Fans can also catch Warras' call with the majority of the team's HLN webcasts.
The Panthers finally get back to Milwaukee, taking on Chicago State at the Klotsche Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m. December 15.