VICTORIA – The Wisconsin Badgers broke away in the second quarter and didn’t look back on Sunday, battling their way to a 73-53 victory over the Victoria Vikes at the CARSA Performance Gym.
Courtney Fredrickson led the way for the Badgers, playing a team-leading 32 minutes while knocking down 18 points and adding a pair of steals. Nicole Karstein and Jenna Bugiardiniset the tone for the Vikes with 13 points apiece to help their team stay within 10 points for the majority of the night.
Sunday’s game was anything but a token matchup for the Vikes, who are looking forward to hosting the CIS Championship in March, 2017. It may still be pre-season, but Vikes head coach Dani Sinclair noted that she expects her team to give the same effort that they would in March.
“The fact that we turned the ball over and we get outworked on the rebound concerns me,” said Sinclair. “The fact that we’re disorganized offensively or defensively doesn’t concern me in August because we’re going to have lots of time to shore that up but you can give 100% effort whether it’s August or March.
“We wouldn’t play [these games] if they didn’t matter.”
The Vikes came out strong in the first quarter, bouncing back from an early three-pointer by Fredrickson to post 10 of the next 12 points. But the Badgers fought back to tie the game at 15-15 heading into the second quarter and went on to carve out a 14-point lead going into the half.
That lead was built on the back of eight points off of Vikes turnovers, a testament both to the Badgers’ smothering defense and to the number of UVic slip-ups on the night. It’s a good test for UVic to face good defence early in the season, but Sinclair stressed that the onus is still on her team.
“I hope there’s not too much made that [we lost] because they’re an NCAA team, because that’s not the case,” said Sinclair. “For sure the other coach, he’s saying the same thing—they’re not firing on all cylinders, they were turning the ball over here and there, but we lost to a good team.”
The Vikes stayed close in the third quarter, pumping out 19 points on the back of some strong play—shots and steals—from Karstein. But ultimately the Badgers proved too much, and an 18-13 fourth quarter sealed the Vikes fate in front of over 240 home fans.
The game will be used as a learning experience for Sinclair’s team, which had a large influx of youth over the summer. There’s a lot to like about the team that will face Japan U18 later in August before turning their attention to the Canada West season.
“We’re still forming as a team,” said Sinclair. “Some of our girls just met each other face-to-face for the first time five days ago and we still don’t have our full compliment. I think it’s more that then it is anything else. We have a core group of girls who understand what’s at stake and they bring a high level of competitiveness each day when we train through the summer.
“They take a lot of pride in how they play when they put on a game uniform or a practice uniform so I don’t think there’s a sense of complacency. This game gives us a lot to work from—it gives us a good starting point.”
Next up for the Vikes are a pair of games against Japan U18 on August 23 and 24. Both games get started at 7:00 p.m. PST and will take place at the CARSA Performance Gym.
WIS: 15-20-20-18 : 73
VIC: 15-6-19-13 : 53