In a morning press conference with Ohio State and Wisconsin, the players and head coaches were asked about the teams third matchup this season.
The previous two matches fell to the hand of the Badgers in straight sets.
“The two teams have grown and awful lot, and how we were the two previous matches are not how we are,” said Wisconsin head coach Kelly Sheffield. “There are differences on both sides, which really makes this kind of fun going into it a third time.”
For many Wisconsin players, this is not their first time playing at this level, senior Lauren Carlini knows all too well what playing in a Sweet 16 match is like, as it is her fourth and final appearance.
“So being in this position, we’ve been in this position before. We know how to handle that pressure. We know what’s in front of us,” said Carlini.
Carlini also talked about how the team has been connecting well with each other this season, how positive relationships off the court have translated to on the court play.
Haleigh Nelson of Wisconsin expressed that teams coming into the tournament are different than in regular season play. They have a new fire in them, a renewed enthusiasm.
“We have to take care of business, and we have to come in with that same enthusiasm that they’re definitely bringing because they want to go back home to Columbus for the Final Four, too,” said Nelson.
Looking to head back home to Columbus to compete in the Final Four is Ohio State.
“I think we’re really excited. It’s nothing new to us. It’s not a new team. It’s not a new gym,” said sophomore Ashley Wenz.
This is the second match this season that the Buckeye will face Wisconsin on their home court, the first ending in defeat.
Ohio State head coach Geoff Carlston is looking at the match as a new game, a new team.
“The Sweet 16, every team’s good, and it comes down to who’s just going to be able to embrace the moment and handle that moment emotionally the best,” said Carlston. “When you get to this point in the Sweet 16, everyone’s good. Everyone’s playing well. They’re playing at a very high level. We won 7 of out last 8. At this point, really, any one of the 16 teams, frankly, could go through.”
The two teams square off for the third time this season at Wisconsin on Friday, December 9 at 1 PM ET. Each team is looking to advance to their regional final that will take place on December 10 at 5 PM Et, that will secure their spot in Columbus in the Final Four.