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Annie Nelson earns a spot in Badgers' starting lineup

Former Raider and current Wisconsin Badger Annie Nelson is having a breakout year, according to the women's basketball team Web site.

After playing in just 20 games (91 career minutes) in her first two seasons with the team, Nelson has played in every game this season -- and started the past nine games.

She is the team's leading rebounder, averaging 7.5 per game, and ranks fourth in the Big Ten Conference for offensive rebounds with 2.8 per game.

Her most productive games on offense so far this season have come at Iowa State, where she scored 13 points, and at home against UW-Milwaukee, 12 points. She is averaging 5.8 points per game through 13 games.

A Fox Sports Network announcer who worked the telecast of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game on Jan. 6 said Nelson approached Badgers coach Lisa Stone over the summer and told Stone she was ready to play.

The 6-foot-1 junior replaced Ebba Gebisa in the starting lineup for a Dec. 1 game at Marquette. Nelson had seven points, six rebounds and three assists in the 78-64 Badger loss, and has been a starter since then.

The Fox announcer called her the Badgers' best post defensive player and said her overall rebounding average is seventh-best in the Big Ten.

"It's all coming together for her now," said Hudson High School girls coach Dave Johnson. "She hung in there and kept working... You've just got to get out there and pay your dues and outwork people and your time will come."

Johnson coached Nelson and her Raider teammates to the Division 1 girls basketball state championship in 2002. The Raiders finished the season with a 22-5 record. Nelson was named to the all-state third team despite missing eight regular-season games because of a sprained knee.

Her parents are Greg and Judy Nelson of Hudson. Her father works for 3M Co. and her mother is a special needs teacher at Hudson Middle School. Her younger sister, Amanda, is a senior on the current Raider girls basketball team.

The media guide for the 2004-05 Badger women devotes two pages to Nelson, including photographs, highlights of her high school career, statistics from her first two years of college play and a list of personal preferences.

You learn that her favorite color is purple; Usher is the singer she would most like to tour with; Habitat for Humanity is the community service she likes best; her dog is the one thing she'd like to bring to Madison; and that one day she'd like to be a sports broadcaster.

Her taped analysis of the Wisconsin women's team was used on the ESPN2 broadcast of the Wisconsin-Illinois game on Jan. 21, 2003.

The Badger women are 6-7 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten going into tonight's (Thursday's) 6 p.m. game at Michigan State. Nelson is listed as a probable starter.

For more on Nelson and the Wisconsin women's basketball team, go online to

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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