Teagan Mallegni

McFarland sophomore Teagan Mallegni leads the state in scoring and should be a top target for the Wisconsin women’s basketball program.

Marisa Moseley has arguably the toughest coaching job in the state.

Her task is to try to find a way to resurrect a downtrodden University of Wisconsin women’s basketball program.

The Badgers have not had a winning season since 2010-11, have not finished higher than 11th place in the Big Ten over the last nine years and were dead last in the Big Ten in 2020-21 with a dismal 2-18 record.

And the first year has not gone well thus far for Moseley. Wisconsin is 3-12 overall and 0-5 in the Big Ten. Among the losses this season are to NJIT and Chicago State, two nonconference opponents that Big Ten schools simply can’t lose to.

So what’s the secret to turning things around?

First of all, fans and alumni need to be patient. The transformation is obviously not going to happen overnight, as evidenced by the slow start this season. Moseley has to get her recruits in place and build from there.

Her background should help in the resurrection. Moseley spent nine seasons as an assistant under legendary UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma before leaving for the head job at Boston University. She led the Terriers to a winning record all three years at the helm. And in her third and final season, they played in the Patriot League conference championship game.

Yet one thing stands out more than anything else in Moseley’s attempt to bring respectability back to the program. She must put a fence around the in-state recruits. Too many times in the past, the state’s top players have not been willing to stay home and play for the Badgers.

Among those in-state recruits that have taken their talents elsewhere are Sonja Henning (Stanford), Mistie Bass (Duke) and Arike Ogunbowale, who led Notre Dame to the national championship in the 2017-18 season. Moseley’s got to find a way to make Madison a pipeline for the state’s top players. Not only would that help the program begin to crawl back to relevancy, but it would also likely put a few more fans in the seats at the Kohl Center.

The one in-state player that better be at the top of Moseley’s recruiting list is McFarland’s Teagan Mallegni. The 6-foot sophomore leads the state in scoring at 28.2 points a game and is coming off an astounding 62-point outburst in a Rock Valley Conference win over East Troy. My guess is that Mallegni probably lives about 15 minutes from the Kohl Center.

Brodhead coach Brian Kammerer said Mallegni is a special talent.

“There’s really no way to defend her,” Kammerer said. “If you back off on her, she just kills you from the outside. And if you come up on her, she goes right around you and gets to the basket.

“Her offensive skills are unbelievable, and she’s only a sophomore. I don’t even want to think about trying to gameplan for her the next two years.”

Moseley has her work cut out for her, but signing a special player like Mallegni would certainly help the cause.

Here’s a look at three area games on tap:

Janesville Parker (6-5, 3-4) at Madison La Follette (8-1, 7-0), boys, Big Eight, 7:15, today, at La Follette High School—The Vikings look for the upset against the state’s fifth-ranked team.

La Follette’s only loss was to La Crosse Central, ranked third in Division 2.

The Lancers are averaging 66.8 points a game and are led by Camron Yahnke and Arhman Lewis, who are averaging a combined 31 points a game.

Parker has lost two straight after winning four straight.

J.J. Douglas and Jake Naber rank one and two in the Big Eight in rebounding. Naber is fourth in scoring at 19.6 per game.

Best guess: La Follette 67, Parker 55

Brodhead (8-3, 6-0) at Walworth Big Foot (7-5, 5-2), boys, Rock Valley, 7 p.m., today, at Big Foot High School—The Chiefs can move within a half-game of first place with the win, while the Cardinals look to stay unbeaten in conference play.

Brodhead has won three straight after losing three in a row. The Cardinals are averaging 67.3 points a game.

Owen Leifker, who recently surpassed 1,000 points for his career, is fourth in the conference in scoring at 21.2 points a game.

Gus Foster continues to light it up for Big Foot. The senior leads the Rock Valley in scoring at 22.6 points a game and scored a season-high 39 in a win over Beloit Turner.

Best guess: Brodhead 62, Big Foot 57

Clinton (8-6, 5-4) at Jefferson (8-4, 7-2), girls, Rock Valley, 7 p.m., Friday, at Jefferson High School—The high-scoring Cougars can knock the Eagles out of second place with a win.

After starting the season 6-1, Jefferson has lost three of its last five games.

Ayianna Johnson leads the Rock Valley in rebounding at 12.1 per game and is third in scoring at 18.7.

Clinton has been lighting up the scoreboard lately. The Cougars have averaged 82.33 points their last three conference games.

Jayden Nortier and Elli Teubert are averaging a combined 38 points a game.

Best guess: Jefferson 68, Clinton 61


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