The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team (5-16, 0-8 Big Ten) couldn’t outlast Indiana (15-6, 5-3 Big Ten) in their game at the Kohl Center Sunday resulting in a 78-54 loss.The Badgers hung close for three quarters and were even able to snatch the lead in the third, but eventually succumbed to the Hoosiers’ onslaught in the final period of play. Wisconsin found themselves fighting from behind in the second half after concluding the first down by six. But with the aid of a couple of three pointers from guards Roichelle Marble and Suzanne Gilreath, the momentum changed hands.Riley Steinbrenner/The Badger HeraldWomen’s basketball: Wildcats await reeling Badgers in EvanstonThe University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team could be looking at an 0-9 start in the Big Ten as they Read…It was still anybody’s ballgame as the final minutes of the third quarter ticked away, but Indiana had already begun their charge. They scored five straight as the Badgers tiredly stumbled, unable to retaliate as they had done so zealously all period long.By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Wisconsin had completely lost its touch. The Badgers ended up only scoring three points while the Hoosiers poured in 21. Among their mistakes, Wisconsin could not limit their fouls. They committed a season-high 27 that forced Indiana to the line 18 times in the fourth quarter alone.Riley Steinbrenner/The Badger HeraldWomen’s basketball: Struggling Badgers look for turnaround win against solid Indiana teamThe Wisconsin women’s basketball team (5-15, 0-7 Big Ten) will play their second straight game at home Sunday as they Read…The theme of inconsistent scoring persisted for Wisconsin, as only junior guard Cayla McMorris reached double figures. An encouraging sign for the Badgers going forward, McMorris, their leading scorer on the season, was revitalized in her efforts. She scored 13 points going 6-13 on the day.Turnover disparity manifested itself accordingly on the scoreboard. Indiana scored 20 points off of Wisconsin’s 17 turnovers, while the Hoosiers only gave the ball away seven times.Considering the major midseason slide they’ve been on, Sunday’s loss was yet another poignant reminder of the potential that this young Badgers squad has.
Puig has heard it all before from any number of veteran teammates, coaches and others. And yet, in an interview with ESPN Deportes during the Caribbean Series in February, Puig said he wanted to be a good teammate but he didn’t know how.Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman read the interview and was encouraged.“I think a lot of times you say to someone, ‘Be a better teammate.’ I don’t know that there’s been the follow-up on specifics and examples,” Friedman said. “Even if it had been explained well, he might not have been at a point in time to really listen and internalize it. I can’t answer that question.“But when I heard that in February, it was really encouraging to me for numerous reasons – one of which was the vulnerability it showed. It’s not easy to say I don’t know how to do something.”It shouldn’t be surprising that Puig – and other Cuban players – don’t immediately grasp what is expected of them as professionals in MLB, Friedman said. Chase Utley isn’t the first to try. But maybe he is the first to find fertile ground for his efforts.During the Dodgers’ preseason Freeway Series in Anaheim, Utley approached Yasiel Puig and offered some advice. As Puig tells it, Utley offered him some wisdom gleaned while surviving – and succeeding – for 14 seasons in the major leagues and what it takes “to get to his age and still be an effective player.”“Obviously, I think we all know how much talent he has,” Utley said. “You see a guy with so much talent and you want him to be able to get the most out of that talent for as long as you can. So I gave him my two cents on how I thought he could sustain that success for a long time.”There were no secrets. Establish a routine, Utley told Puig. Be accountable. Be prepared every day. “Get here on time and do the things that are necessary to be a good teammate,” Puig summarized. “Work hard to get the job done.” “This is just a smaller example of a bigger issue – I feel like as an industry we’ve failed the Cuban players,” Friedman said. “We sign them for a lot of money and fast-track them to the major leagues (because of the money invested) and just the raw talent. We don’t necessarily take the time to help with the assimilation to this style of play, this culture.“And there are so many things that are so different from their experiences also in a professional league that differ from here that we take for granted. … It is so different. You’d have to ask him but as an example I think they show up at 6 o’clock for a 7 p.m. game. It’s just totally different.”No longer the raw 22-year-old who burst into the major leagues three years ago and overpowered the game with his athleticism, Puig says he doesn’t “really care about getting scolded” or criticized for his irresponsible behavior off the field or lapses on it. But he does admit he is motivated to change.“I know I’m getting older, more experienced. I’m more mature now,” he said through an interpreter. “And a contract is coming up so I know I have to have the discipline in order to get a better one.”Indeed. That could come as soon as this off-season. The seven-year, $42 million contract Puig signed in June 2012 includes a clause allowing him to opt into arbitration when he reaches three years of major-league service time. He will pass that benchmark this season and could use the option to prod the Dodgers into negotiating a new, multi-year deal – or go to arbitration, where he could get a raise from the $6.5 million he is scheduled to earn next season.Even former teammate Zack Greinke gave Puig a politically correct endorsement this week.One of the more tasty scenes in the book “The Best Team Money Can Buy” written about the dysfunctional Dodgers of 2013 and 2014 involved a confrontation between Greinke and Puig. One thread in Greinke’s decision to leave L.A. via free agency this winter questioned whether he would ever return to a clubhouse that included Puig.“Honestly, that had zero to do with anything,” Greinke said last week. “The clubhouse over there is fantastic. Especially the last season. It was a really good place. A lot of great guys over there. I would say it would be much more of a positive the way the clubhouse is than a negative.”Asked specifically if that included Puig, Greinke – who usually looks like a dental patient during interview sessions – let a knowing smile crease his face while saying, “Yes. He’s fine.”The Dodgers’ clubhouse atmosphere has indeed improved – and that actually has little to do with any change in Puig. It started with the departures of Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, whose individual agendas had become toxic. It has continued this season with the fresh energy brought by new manager Dave Roberts and a new coaching staff.Don Mattingly’s patience with Puig ran out long before Mattingly’s time with the Dodgers and their relationship had deteriorated beyond repair last season. Roberts is clearly a factor in any new leaf Puig turns over this season.“I don’t think I have much to do with it. Obviously, it’s the player who has to buy in,” said Roberts, acknowledging that his approach to Puig has been to focus on the positives and reflect that back to the player – something that had left Mattingly’s arsenal long ago.“I just thought that at the core there is so much good in there,” Roberts said. “I just felt that you’ve got to love on him a little bit. We’ve done that. He’s been great. He really has. He’s been a complete joy for me.”The fact Puig is batting .356 and has been on base 23 times in the first 13 games of the season – and can joke with the Twitter hashtag “#PuigNotLate” about being the first one on the team plane Monday – certainly makes it easier for Roberts to embrace Puig.“I give Dave a lot of credit, (coaches) Turner Ward, George Lombard – all of them have forged a real relationship with him,” Friedman said. “To Dave’s credit, he’s not trying to change Puig. He wants him to be himself … but within the individual to understand which aspects are more important than others and to let him grow within those looser boundaries.”Utley does not come across as someone willing to accept “looser boundaries” about the proper way to go about things on a baseball field or in a clubhouse. He had heard about the Dodgers’ problem child before arriving in Los Angeles last August but says Puig has “absolutely” been different than he expected.“I really didn’t know,” Utley said. “You read stuff but you don’t really want to take everything you read as fact. But I feel like he’s been a good teammate ever since I’ve been around. A good teammate, supportive, he cares, plays hard.“You read stuff and in the past it wasn’t necessarily that way. But from what I’ve seen he’s been good.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error