Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - June 20, 2013

Varsity is the free Official Online Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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WHAT'S NEXT? THE WAIT IS OVER With the availability of Michala and arrival of Malayna, the Johnson sisters are poised to provide assistance in head coach Bobbie Kelsey's rebuilding of the Badgers W BY MIKE LUCAS • UWBADGERS.COM isconsin women's basketball coach Bobbie Kelsey has gotten more than one message from Michala Johnson that has reflected the Connecticut transfer's readiness after sitting out last season. "She has tweeted at us a couple of times while watching WNBA games,'' Kelsey said. "She can't wait to get out on the court herself and compete in a real game. She's hungry, as well. "We have a lot of hungry folks and we're expecting them to channel that and help their teammates out and make them understand how important it is for everyone to be on the same page.'' The 6-foot-3 Johnson saw limited playing time during her two seasons in the UConn program. She appeared in 56 games and averaged five minutes and less than two points and two rebounds. In a prepared statement on Johnson's intention to transfer, Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said, "She came to us and expressed an interest in being closer to home and I can respect that.'' Johnson is from Bellwood, Ill., 13 miles west of Chicago. She played 19 games during her senior year at Montini Catholic High School (in Lombard) before going to the sideline with a knee injury. She was averaging 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, and Montini was 18-1 before she was hurt. During her freshman season at UConn, she was still playing herself back into basketball shape. "I have really enjoyed getting to know Michala over the last two years,'' Auriemma said. "She's a great kid who works really hard in the classroom and on the court.'' In the short time that Johnson was around Auriemma, she said that she learned to be "consistent with everything I do and to go hard and be aggressive with everything'' in practice or games. "It was very hard,'' Johnson said of her decision to leave Connecticut. "But I knew that it was something that I had to do for myself. It was like, 'What was best for me?''' Wisconsin was not only close to home, but Johnson also had some knowledge of Kelsey, who formerly coached at Stanford, one of the many schools that recruited Johnson out of high school. "Coach Bobbie is a great coach and she's trying to bring the Stanford style of play to Wisconsin,'' said Johnson, 21, who sat out an obligatory year because of NCAA transfer rules.

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