In addition to the largest crowd of the season Sunday, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team had a sizable collection of recruits seated behind the bench for its game against Indiana at the Kohl Center.
Three of the four members of the 2019 recruiting class were in attendance — 6-foot point guard Sydney Hilliard of Monroe, 5-11 wing Tara Stauffacher of Beaver Dam and 6-3 center Sara Stapleton of Blaine, Minnesota (Centennial High School). The fourth member of that group is 6-1 wing Julie Pospisilova of the Czech Republic.
Hilliard is averaging 20.5 points during her senior year, shooting 60 percent from the field and 88 percent from the foul line. Stauffacher is averaging 11.8 points for the balanced Golden Beavers, who are seeking their third consecutive WIAA Division 2 state title. Stapleton has been sidelined by a knee injury but said she expects to return to action in the next couple weeks.
That group was joined by at least four highly regarded recruits — juniors Leilani Kapinus of Madison Memorial and Lauren Jensen of Lakeville (Minn.) North; sophomore Callie Genke of Freedom and freshman Aaliyah Smith of Verona.
The 5-foot-11 Kapinus had her junior season cut short by a torn ACL, but she remains a highly coveted prospect, ranked as high as No. 9 by ESPN HoopGurlz and No. 22 by Prospects Nation.
Jensen, a 5-9 guard, is the fourth leading scorer in Minnesota with a 27.1 point average after helping lead her North Tartan AAU team to the Nike National title during the summer. She has offers from numerous major conference programs.
The 6-foot Genke is considered one of the top sophomores in the state, along with Beaver Dam’s Maty Wilke, with offers from UW, Marquette, Louisville, Iowa and Green Bay. She is averaging 15.8 points and 4.5 rebounds this season.
Smith, a 5-6 guard, has already attracted plenty of college coaches with her explosive game. She is averaging 21 points for the Wildcats in her freshman season.