By Joey Peterson —
The playoffs are something that each team strives for each season. It is no different for the University of Wisconsin–Stout Women’s basketball team, who is currently in position to make the WIAC conference tournament. “We currently sit in sixth place and could get as high as fourth,” said Mark Thomas, head coach of the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils are tied with the University of Wisconsin–Platteville with a record of 2-7 in conference. However, Stout defeated Platteville by a score of 77-47 to give the Blue Devils the tiebreaker for the sixth position.
Coach Thomas and his team know that if they want to make the tournament they need to play to their strengths. “We are fast and have good depth in most positions,” said Thomas.“We compete hard every second we are on the court and we can push the tempo like very few can.” Stout is averaging around 71 points per game, and they force their opponents to turn the ball over on average 22 times per game.
In one of their games, they faced the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. The Blue Devils got off to a slow start, falling behind by 13 points in the first quarter. Stout then pushed all the way back, but came up two points short. “That’s what we need to do more consistently,” said Thomas.
The competition and depth of the WIAC conference is strong from the top of the conference to the bottom of the conference. “We have four teams Nationally Ranked in the top 20, which speaks volumes of how tough the league really is,” said Thomas.
The University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh leads the conference with an 8-1 record and ranked tenth in the d3hoops.com poll. Followed by fellow WIAC conference members UW–Whitewater (fifteenth), UW–Stevens Point (sixteenth) and UW–River Falls (eighteenth).
So far the Blue Devils have been unable to attain a win against the upper-tier teams of the conference, but have come close on more than one occasion. “We have pushed most of those teams to the edge,” said Thomas. “Now we need to learn how to push them over and get the win.”
Next games up for the Blue Devils are on February 10, vs. UW–Stevens Point and February 13, vs. UW–Whitewater.