One more weekend. Two more games.
And the Wisconsin GLO will be ready.
The GLO will wrap up their regular season this weekend with games Saturday and Sunday at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh. Wisconsin will host the Flint Monarchs on Saturday at 7 p.m., before welcoming the Detroit Queens on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Wisconsin has posted wins over both teams already this season but that didn’t stop the team from getting some mid-week practice in to prepare for what they will face this weekend.
“We’re just happy to be home and have an opportunity to get some of us to practice together,” head coach Lauren Busalacchi said. “We try to go (with practice) once a week when we have home games.”
Preparing to play two different teams in a span of less than 24 hours can be tricky for a coaching staff.
However, the GLO are familiar with both opponents having played them already this season, plus both foes will bring similar styles to the court. Both the Monarchs and the Queens have tall, athletic frontcourts that will challenge Wisconsin’s interior defense while each team also sports some talented perimeter players as well.
“Both teams are a little bigger than we are so we can kind of prepare for both at the same time with how we will guard the post,” Busalacchi said. “They run a lot of horns action and early ball-screen action in their offense so we can kind of combine our defensive preparation for them as well as our offensive reads about what they will be doing defensively.”
The GLO enter the game with a 7-2 overall record coming off a split with league-leading St. Louis. With the league’s tournament set to follow the end of the regular season, Busalacchi is hoping to use the two weekend games as a final tune-up for the postseason where the GLO will look to defend its GWBA title.
“We’re excited for the games and we think they are big momentum games for us heading into the playoffs,” Busalacchi said. “We want to take full advantage of the opportunity to get better together and just get a little bit sharper on both ends of the court.”
Tickets are still available for both games and are available through the Wisconsin GLO’s website or at Menominee Nation Arena.
BOUNTIFUL BENCH: One of the benefits of having such a talent-laden roster like the GLO is that there isn’t much of a drop off when Busalacchi turns to her bench for substitutions.
In the win over the Queens earlier this season, the GLO bench put up a whopping 36 points, led by double-figure nights from Mehryn Kraker, Julie Wojta and Steph Kostowicz. When the GLO topped the Monarchs in late July, the bench had 29 points.
When Wisconsin split with the St. Louis Surge on July 24 and July 25, the bench racked up 33 points – led by Kelly Moten’s dynamic 13-point effort – in the game the GLO won. If the loss, two players combined for just 15 points.
As productive as the GLO’s starting lineup has been, the key for Wisconsin this weekend may be when those five players are getting a break.
“Bench points are so impactful to the game and we really want to win the bench game every night,” Busalacchi said. “We’re not the same team without our bench. When you have a full roster of players who are really talented, the bench has to maximize their opportunities.”
It’s not just at the offensive end either.
Busalacchi expects whoever gets on the floor to be ready to contribute and carry on the momentum from the starting group.
“The games we take control and get good flow, those are the games where our bench is fully engaged when they come in a game,” Busalacchi said. “It will be another big weekend for our bench this weekend to be ready to head into the playoffs.”
WURTZ KEEPS ROLLING: Taylor Wurtz continues to be a driving force behind the GLO’s success.
The former University of Wisconsin star is averaging a team-best 17.3 points per game and has reached double figures in eight of the nine games this season. She’s also topped the team’s scoring list in six of those nine games.
Wurtz has stepped things up of late, too. Over the past five games, Wurtz has averaged more than 21 points per game and topped the 20-point mark three times – including a season-high 25 points in a road win over the Detroit Dodgers.
And as dangerous as Wurtz is from behind the 3-point line, the guard has also made her mark scoring at the rim and getting to the foul line. In the last three games, she is 15-of-16 from the charity stripe, including a 7-of-7 performance when the GLO beat the Detroit Queens on July 17.
HANNAH’S HOT HAND: The last time the Wisconsin GLO faced the Flint Monarchs, Hannah Whitish had her best game of the season.
The Barneveld alum and former standout at Nebraska poured in a career-best 27 points to lead the GLO and knocked down 9-of-11 attempts from behind the 3-point line in the process.
The nine 3-pointers are a franchise record.