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Nationally-ranked Badgers women’s hockey ready to defend NCAA title

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The 2020-2021 NCAA Division 1 National Champion Wisconsin Badgers are ready to pick up where they left off.

"I'd love another national title," said fifth-year senior Grace Bowlby.

Bowlby is one of seven fifth-year seniors returning to play this season along with reigning WCHA Player of the Year Daryl Watts and last season's co-captain Brette Pettet. The group wants to make the most out of the unique final season.

"For us to have our fifth years back and our seniors as well, it's a really big advantage and it'll be good for our younger players too," said Pettet, who tied for third in WCHA scoring last season. "For a lot of girls in the league, I know it's amazing to have another opportunity to play."

Bowlby, an All-American, shared the same sentiment and wants to cherish as much as she can this season.

"My kind of motto this year is just like take it all in. Probably one of my last year's playing hockey so just enjoying every little thing," said Bowlby.

Defending the national title and coming in as the country's top-ranked team seems like it would add a lot of pressure. However, their head coach Mark Johnson feels otherwise. He's seeing quite a bit in the small amount of practices held so far.

"Everybody took care of themselves well this summer," said Johnson. "They came back in good shape and good condition so now it's an opportunity to play a game and see where we're at."

Wisconsin will be uniquely shorthanded this season as four players were selected for the USA Hockey resident program. They're confident they can make the line change adjustment.

"If they ever do come back [to play at UW], that's great for us but just kind of take it and see how it goes and yeah, one step at a time," said Pettet.

The Badgers open up their season at Lindenwood for back-to-back games on September 24 & 25.

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