By Alex Maring
Kyle Rechlicz is off to a great start in her first season as the women’s basketball coach at UW-Milwaukee. While it is too early to determine whether or not this team will continue winning, it is a great time to sit back and reflect on the opening week that was for the women’s basketball program.
The Panthers hosted Hillsdale College in their sole exhibition matchup Nov. 3 at the Klotsche Center. They dominated 88-55. Senior Sami Tucker was sensational, putting up 19 points and 14 rebounds in the victory. Tucker is one of two seniors on the young basketball team this year and is going to be one of the keys to success for this team moving forward.
Three other players reached double figures in the exhibition including junior Emily Decorah and freshmen Avyanna Young and Jordyn Swan. The game started off slow for the Panthers but as the first half progressed the shots were falling and the score was 42-22 at halftime.
The Panthers were able to force 29 turnovers against the Chargers, which helped them reach 88 points, the most for UWM since 2008. It was a good team effort and the Panthers carried that momentum over to Chicago.
Following the big exhibition win over Hillsdale, the Panthers were on the move, traveling to Chicago State Nov. 9. They fought hard again and pulled out the win defeating the Cougars 82-58.
With this being the regular season opener, the big names had to put on a show. This was the case here. Junior Angela Rodriguez led the team with 18 points while three other players scored double digits. Outside of scorers of double digits, the Panthers had a plethora of contributors on Friday night having 10 players score at least once. Sami Tucker again showed up big for the Panthers with 11 points while grabbing 6 rebounds.
Defense was key in the victory as the Panthers forced 19 turnovers against the Cougars. This Panthers team is expected to be a very pesky team defensively and put that on full display this week. The Panthers also dominated the offensive boards finishing with 16.
WISCONSIN (SUNDAY AT 6, ATKINS TO UPDATE)