Panthers Host Central Michigan Saturday
Traci Edwards

Traci Edwards

Game #9 • Dec. 20 • 2 p.m.
Central Michigan @ Milwaukee

Klotsche Center (5,000) • Milwaukee, Wis.
uwmpanthers.com: Live Stats, Listen
Radio: AM 920 The Wolf (Scott Warras)
TV: None

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Dec. 18, 2008) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team returns from a 10-day lay-off Saturday to resume its three-game homestand. The Panthers host Central Michigan at the Klotsche Center at 2 p.m.

How's It Going...
Milwaukee has loss three-straight games and enters the weekend at 3-5. UWM's last loss was a heart-breaking 63-61 defeat at the hands of Illinois. The Panthers overcame a 20-point second-half deficit in that game to tie the score, but fell on a jumper with 3.4 seconds remaining.

Up Next
The Panthers close out their three-game homestand Monday, hosting Evansville. Aftertaking a break for the holidays, UWM returns to action Dec. 31 at crosstown rival Marquette.

Witnessing History...
With a season-high 30 points Dec. 2 at Wisconsin, senior Traci Edwards became UWM's all-time leading scorer. She surpassed Maria Viall's (2000-04) school record of 1,867 and now has 1,908 points. Edwards' work is not done, as she now sets her sights on 2,000 points and then the league's career scoring record of 2,018 points. Nationally, the 6-foot-2 center is third among active leading scorers, trailing only Oklahoma's Courtney Paris and Louisville's Angel McCoughtery.

About Central Michigan
The Chippewas are off to a fast start at 6-2 and own wins over a pair of Horizon League teams in Valparaiso (86-80) and Youngstown State (78-50). Central Michigan is eighth in the nation with 81.9 points per game and is averaging over eight 3-pointers and 11 steals per game. Four starters are averaging at least 10 points per game, led by Britni Houghton's 20.4 ppg. Angel Chan is chipping in 14.1, while Brandie Baker has added 11.6 and Kaihla Szunko checks in with 10.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per outing.

Series History
Milwaukee has won its last two meetings with Central Michigan and is tied in the all-time series, 3-3. Last season, the Panthers shot 50 percent from the field, 56.3 percent from three-point range and were 16-of-17 from the free throw line in a 79-64 win. The last time UWM and CMU met in Milwaukee was just over eight years ago, when the Panthers knocked down a school-record 78.6 percent of their three-pointers (11-of-14) on the way to a 90-48 rout.

Last Time Out: Illinois 63, UWM 61
UWM overcame a 20-point deficit, but it was not enough as a jumper by Lydia McCully with 3.4 remaining proved the difference in a 63-61 loss to Illinois last Wednesday at the Klotsche Center. The Panthers trailed 49-29 with 14:12 to play, but used a 26-6 run to tie the game at 55-55 with 3:30 to play. Senior Traci Edwards finished with game highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds, while senior Turquoise McCain added 18 points and three steals. The duo combined for 15 of the Panthers' 26 points during the game-tying run.

The Panthers Know Drama
Milwaukee has provided some of the most dramatic television this season, as each of its first two TV games this season have been far from boring. Dec. 2 at Wisconsin, the Panthers overcame a 16-point deficit with just over 11 minutes remaining to take the lead in a game that eventually went into two overtimes. Then, Dec. 10, Milwaukee fought back from a 49-29 deficit to tie Illinois at 55-55 in the final minutes of regulation. The two games, which pitted UWM against two Big Ten teams, including an in-state opponent, featured a combined three game-tying or winning baskets in the final eight seconds of regulation or overtime.

Home Sweet Home
After playing six of its first seven games away from home Milwaukee is in the midst of a three-game home stand. The Klotsche Center has been a difficult place for visiting teams to succeed. In 12-plus years under Sandy Botham, the Panthers are 107-50 at home. The Panthers went 9-7 at home last season and are just two seasons removed from a school-record 13-3 home campaign in 2005-06. In league play, those numbers are even better as Milwaukee boasts a 74-19 home record. That number has gotten a boost lately, as the Panthers have won 59 of their last 71 home league games over the last nine seasons. UWM has also posted three perfect home league years, going 8-0 in 2003-04 and 7-0 in both 1999-2000 and 2000-01.

Player Of The Week
Traci Edwards was named the Horizon League Player of the Week this week for the eighth time in her career. The senior center scored 22 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in leading the Panthers to a 20-point comeback against Illinois last week. With her eighth award, Edwards has been so honored more time than any other player in school history (Maria Viall, 7). She is also one back of the league record for player of the week awards (Green Bay's Nicole Soulis, 9).

Flipping The Switch
The Panthers have been making a habit of turning it on late to overcome a deficit or put away an opponent. Their latest example was Dec. 10 against Illinois when they trailed by 20 in the second half. UWM rattled off a 26-6 run before succumbing on a jumper with 3.4 seconds remaining in a 63-61 loss. Just eight days earlier at Wisconsin, Milwaukee overcame a 16-point deficit with just 11:15 to play with a 20-3 run. Some more examples include Nov. 29 at Northern Illinois: Milwaukee held a slim two-point lead at 11:10, before a 17-6 run gave the team a 13-point cushion on the way to a 10-point win. It was around the 16:58 mark that UWM trailed SIU Edwardsville by five Nov. 26 before using a 20-4 run to take the lead for good and coast to a 23-point victory.

The Proof Is In The Pudding
Over the last five games, the Panthers have averaged 25.2 points over the final 12 minutes of regulation, while their opponents averaged just 18 points, giving the team a 7.2-point swing down the stretch. UWM's offense is shooting 50.6 percent from the field in that time frame, including 50 percent from three-point range. Milwaukee also steps it up on the defensive end, limiting opponents to 39.1 percent shooting in that time, including just 27.3 percent from three-point range. Traci Edwards paces the team down the stretch with 7.6 points per game over the final 12 minutes of the team's last five contests. She is also shooting 86.7 percent from the field and 91.9 from the free throw line in that time.

That's Odd...
Traci Edwards finished the Panthers' Dec. 7 game at Washington State with just four points and one rebound in 16 minutes. Saddled with foul trouble, she posted just the seventh game of her career in which she did not reach 10 points. The outing snapped a streak of 16-straight double-digit scoring games, tied for the third-longest streak in school history. Edwards holds the longest streak, a 41-game monster that spanned the end of her freshman season, entire sophomore campaign and much of last season. Also, her one rebound tied a career-low set last season against Green Bay and her 16 minutes marked just the fifth time she has played fewer than 20 minutes in a game.

Double The Fun
Traci Edwards and Jineen Williams each tallied double-doubles at Wisconsin Dec. 2, combining for 46 points and 21 rebounds in the game. For Edwards, it was double-double No. 46. Meanwhile, it was the first of Williams' career. She is one of three players on the roster other than Edwards with double-doubles in their careers. The last time Milwaukee had two players accomplish the feat in the same game was March 9, 2007, when Edwards tallied 23 points and 12 rebound and senior Jody Crumble had the program's first triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Chasing Records
While Traci Edwards has already become the school's all-time leading scorer Dec. 2 at Wisconsin, she remains on pace for a number of hallowed marks. Edwards now has her sights on Maria Viall's Division I rebounding record of 971. She has 957 career boards after eight games this season and should join Jaci Clark (1979-83) as the only 1,000-point/1,000-rebound women in school history by season's end. It is likely she will be the first player in school history to 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. In fact, according to the latest released reports, only 114 women's players in NCAA Division I history, in any division, have reached the milestone. She would also be the first from a Horizon League or Wisconsin school to do so.

Botham Gets No. 200
Sandy Botham picked up her 200th coaching win at Milwaukee Nov. 29 at Northern Illinois. In 12-plus seasons at the helm of the Panther program, she has boasted a 200-154 record. The milestone is her latest, as she surpassed the 200-win mark for her career last season, while also becoming the winningest coach in league games in Horizon League history. Overall, Botham is 222-158 as a head coach.

Out Of The Lineup
The Panthers are down some numbers this season, dressing 13 of their 16 players for games. Most noticeably, senior Jody Crumble is out indefinitely with a knee injury she suffered in the season-opener. Junior Danae Russell also continues to recover from an injury and will likely not dress this season. Meanwhile, sophomore Ashley Imperiale remains inactive for Milwaukee due to NCAA transfer rules. She will be eligible to dress after the fall semester, which could be as early as Saturday. But, sophomore Maurika Hickman made a triumphant return to the lineup Nov. 26, dressing for the first time this season (including exhibition games).

You Get To Record With Big Numbers
Traci Edwards picked up her first double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds against SIU Edwardsville. Though it took four games, you knew it wouldn't take too long for her to get her first of the season. She added two more since and now has 47 in her career, 11 more than any other player in school history. She also had three-straight 20-plus scoring efforts and has pushed her school-record total to 47 career 20-point games. She is also at 93 double-digit scoring games in 100 career games played, five back of Maria Viall's school record (98). Lastly, her double-double against Illinois gave her an even 50 double-digit rebounding games, another school record.

All-Tournament Honors
Traci Edwards finished the season-opening Wolfpack Invitational averaging 19.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and was named to the all-tournament team. She was previously named the tournament MVP at the only other in-season tournament of her career, the SMU Hoops for the Cure Classic in 2006.

League Success
The Panthers are looking to continue a strong tradition of success in the Horizon League in 2008-09. Milwaukee has finished second-or-better in the league standings in eight of the last nine seasons and are 104-37 in league games since 1999-2000. UWM has won league titles in 2001 and 2006.

More Than Just Numbers
Last season, Traci Edwards became the first player in league history to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season twice, as well as the second to lead the league in rebounding three times and scoring in back-to-back seasons. In 2008-09, she will look to join some similar groups as she is looking to become the first league player to lead the league in scoring three times or rebounding four times in a career. Edwards will also be shooting for a fourth-straight all-league first team honor, which only one player has ever done (Butler's Julie Von Dielingen), as well as a repeat league player of the year award, something only four players have done. She has also been named to the league's all-tournament team three times, while only one player has ever done it four times (Green Bay's Chari Nordgaard).

Panthers Third In Preseason Poll
Milwaukee was picked third in the Horizon League preseason poll of league coaches, sports information directors and media. The Panthers received two first-place votes and tallied 240 points, just one point back of second-place Wright State (241 points), which garnered one first-place vote. Two-time defending regular season champion Green Bay topped the list with 24 first-place votes and 284 total points.

Another Preseason Pick
Senior Traci Edwards was selected as the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year for the second-straight season. As a junior, she led the league with 20.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and became the fourth UWM league player of the year. She is looking to become just the second player in league history to be named to the all-league first team four times.

Back In Black & Gold
The Panthers will have the luxury of a wealth of experience this season, as 12 letterwinners return. Heading the list is senior Traci Edwards, the 2008 Horizon League Player of the Year. Three more seniors are back, including Turquoise McCain, a league all-defensive team selection last season, Katie Fournier, Jody Crumble and Markita Barnes. The Panthers' five-player senior class is the largest senior class in the team's Division I history. The squad also boasts two juniors, including returning starter Jodie McClain, and five sophomores, four of which saw extended minutes throughout the season and three that started games.

But What That Means...
Milwaukee's 12 returning players accounted for 81 percent of its scoring last season, a figure that includes eight of the team's top nine scorers. On the glass, even a larger percentage will be back in 2008-09, as 83.4 percent of UWM's rebounds are also back. If that weren't enough, the experience level of the team has also risen. Returning players have combined for 486 games played in a Panther uniform, including 240 starts. That is a rather sizable increase over last season's already impressive numbers (362 games/177 starts).

Welcome To Milwaukee
With 12 letterwinners returning from last season, there is little room for new faces. But, head coach Sandy Botham and her staff have added three players for the upcoming season including freshman post players Danielle Jorgenson and Amanda Viehauser. Ashley Imperiale also joined the team as a transfer, most recently from UW-LaCrosse. Jorgenson is 6-foot-3 and hails from La Crosse, Wis., where she was an all-state first-team selection and two-time area player of the year. Viehauser hails from Minneapolis, Minn., and was all-state honorable mention twice. Meanwhile, Imperiale is a 5-foot-11 guard out of nearby Greendale, Wis. She transferred to UWM after the fall semester last season from UW-La Crosse. Imperiale should be eligible after the fall semester and have sophomore eligibility.

Panthers On The Air
For the second-straight season, every Panther game will be carried live on AM920 WOKY. The station is also the home of the Sandy Botham Radio Show, while both the show and every game will be available live at uwmpanthers.com. Scott Warras returns for his third season as the voice of UWM women's basketball and the host of the Sandy Botham Radio show.

Be Sure To Watch
Seven Panther games will be televised this season, starting with their Dec. 2 game at Wisconsin. That game was on the Big Ten Network, while six more games will be carried live on Time Warner Cable "Sports 32" and then be replayed on the station afterwards. Home games with Illinois (Dec. 10), Green Bay (Jan. 4), Valparaiso (Jan. 29), Cleveland State (Feb. 5) and Loyola (Feb. 19) will be televised as part of UWM's package. The team's Dec. 31 game at Marquette will also be on Sports 32 as an MU broadcast. Also, every league game will be available to watch online through the Horizon League Network (www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv). Sports 32 is the home of the Sandy Botham TV show, which can be first seen every Thursday at 5 p.m.

 

 

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