Women’s volleyball coasts into second round of NCAA tourney

first_imgThe Wisconsin volleyball team is moving on to the second round of the NCAA tournament after soundly defeating the Milwaukee Panthers in straight sets (25-11, 25-14, 25-15) Friday night at the UW Field House.The 12th-seeded Badgers posted its best hitting percentage of the year by almost .100 percentage points with a .461 attack clip in the team’s second win against the Panthers this season.Even though Wisconsin hasn’t seen post-season action in six seasons, head coach Kelly Sheffield said a grueling conference season in the Big Ten will prepare a team for almost anything.“We just got through a heck of a gauntlet called the Big Ten conference,” Sheffield said. “You come out the other side and it should strengthen you – it should give you confidence. We played like a team that’s been in a lot of big matches.”Wisconsin began the game with a tough test in the first part of game one with the score at 9-8. However, the Badgers rattled off a beastly 8-0 streak and finished the game on a 16-3 run.The Badgers were led offensively by junior outside hitters Ellen Chapman and Deme Morales who contributed 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Freshly-minted Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Lauren Carlini, had 39 assists on the night and had three kills of her own.Sheffield said the hitters were able to play smart while staying aggressive at the net – Wisconsin  committed just four errors in the entire match, and no Badger hit for less than a .300 hitting percentage.Senior libero Annemarie Hickey said the team was so amped up earlier in the day that Sheffield had to remind the players that their match wasn’t in the middle of the afternoon.“Our energy level was actually really high,” Hickey said. “You could just tell that everyone was really excited and just feeding off each other’s energy.”Defensively, the Badgers put up 11 blocks to Milwaukee’s two, and both Hickey and sophomore defensive specialist Taylor Morey scrambled for 10 digs apiece.Milwaukee head coach Susie Johnson said Milwaukee had to play a near perfect match to overthrow Wisconsin, but the Badgers were so in system that her team was unable to find any sort of rhythm.“They’re pretty hot right now,” Johnson said. “And if they play like that, they’ll keep winning. They were very difficult to defend … they were a lot better than they were Sept. 14 when we played them.”Wisconsin will advance to a second round matchup with California tomorrow night after Cal stomped No. 15 North Carolina 3-0 in round one Friday night.Sheffield said Cal was potentially underrated coming into the tournament because of significant injuries that plagued the team later in the season. Cal had lost five straight matches coming into the tournament, but Sheffield said he is concerned about Cal’s physical presence that not even the biggest Big Ten teams could match up with.However, Sheffield said that while most people think of 2013 as a successful year for Wisconsin already, the players are determined to prove they are deserving of a longer life in the NCAA tournament.“They feel like there’s more to accomplish,” Sheffield said. “There’s hunger – [they’re] not satisfied.”last_img read more

‘Iso Joe’ Johnson is crushing the Clippers

first_imgHe nailed a 3-pointer that widened the gap to 83-78 with 2:59 left to prompt Clippers coach Doc Rivers to call a timeout. Nearly 17 seconds after re-entering the game, Johnson nailed a fadeaway in the lane to give the Jazz a 92-87 lead with 19.2 seconds remaining. In the Clippers’ Game 4 loss, Johnson scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter. In the Clippers’ Game 1 loss, Johnson made the game-winner over center DeAndre Jordan and forward Jamal Crawford as time expired.“We got to slow down Joe Johnson. He’s been killing us every game now,” Clippers guard Austin Rivers said. “He keeps making big shots after big shots. We’ll figure out something.”Clippers coach Doc Rivers argued somewhat that his team already had figured out something. After citing Johnson’s 6-of-14 mark from the field, Doc Rivers argued,” I would take that.” He then argued that Utah guard Gordon Hayward “set the tone” with his team-leading 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting.About 90 minutes before tip-off, though, Doc Rivers offered a different diagnosis. After stressing the need to make Johnson “miss shots,” the veteran coach also outlined the importance of denying him his sweet spots and downplayed the ones he made that were contested.“If this were the regular season, you would keep saying if he’s going to keep making those shots, then we’re going to keep playing that way,” Rivers said. “But in the playoffs, you make adjustments. We will.” The Clippers did not adjust enough in Game 5. Will they in Game 6? Perhaps easier said than done considering Johnson’s 6-foot-7, 240-pound frame.“He’s a guard, but he’s a bigger-size guard if that makes sense,” Crawford said. “Not to compare him to LeBron (James), but in that sense, he’s a bigger wing player. When you double-team, he can make the right reads. When you don’t, he has a size advantage against anybody.”As a result, Johnson also tallied eight rebounds and three assists, shedding the misconception that he is simply a proficient scorer.“We have confidence in him with the ball,” Snyder said. “Part of it’s because he’s a playmaker. He’s able to create shots for himself, but he also does things for other people.”Johnson has also done plenty to give the Clippers’ headaches, leaving them searching for solutions to make those migraines go away. LOS ANGELES — The end result seemed inevitable anytime Utah guard Joe Johnson had the ball in his hands. Even as the Clippers sensed what he would do, there were very few times when they stopped it.Having earned the nickname “Iso Joe” during his 15-year NBA career, the 35-year-old Johnson has shown in this first-round series against the Clippers that his production is hardly an isolated incident. Johnson scored 14 points in Utah’s 96-92 Game 5 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday night at Staples Center, but that doesn’t properly explain his value.“His baskets, because of the timeliness of them, really lift the group,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “He’s so willing and wanting to take those big shots.”Johnson hit plenty.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more