Wolf sisters are formidable one-two punch
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – The Wolf sisters were a solid 1-2 punch at Sheboygan North High School.
They were hoping to carry the success to the college level when both signed with the Green Bay women’s basketball team.
Now, in their fifth and final season with the Phoenix, the Wolf twins are looking to take the next step on the court together.
“We haven’t had the opportunity to play together much because Mackenzie is coming back from an injury, but our coaches are doing a good job at working her in so we can play together in games,” Madison said.
As redshirt juniors last season, the Wolf sisters played in all 32 games, with Madison starting in 23 games and Mackenzie in eight.
The 6-foot-3 Madison averaged 8.2 points and 7.1 rebounds, and the 6-foot-4 Mackenzie came through with 5.1 points and 2.8 rebounds.
“It’s a gradual increase in responsibility to provide the leadership role since we’ve been here five years,” Madison said. “Here in Green Bay, the upperclassmen give guidance and make sure the next people up are ready to go.”
Senior Frankie Wurtz was in the same recruiting class as the Wolfs.
Playing at Kimberly, Wurtz also took on the twins in high school.
“They do a good job of scoring and rebounding in the post,” Wurtz said. “Defensively, having their length and size helps us.”
Mackenzie played through a lower-body injury early in the season but is back healthy now adjusting to a slightly new position as a power forward.
“In high school, I played the high post area as a 4, but this year I’ve tried to focus on expanding my game out to the three-point line,” Mackenzie said. “I’m still looking to post up on the inside but more so be a guard than a post and be a post when I’m needed.”
As of Jan. 6, Mackenzie has played in seven games.
She scored a season-high 12 points against Wright St. Dec. 30 in 35 minutes of action.
“I’m more aggressive and willing to make aggressive mistakes,” Mackenzie said. “At times last year, I was passive and didn’t want to make mistakes. As seniors, we need to take those risks because there’s going to be greater payoffs.”
Madison said she believes her game has improved since last season, especially her outside shooting.
“Through the strength and conditioning workouts and the offseason training with the coaches, my game has improved,” Madison said. “I’m in the best shape I’ve been in my college career.”
Madison has played in all 15 of Green Bay’s games this season and is averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest.
She has scored in double figures three times thus far.
The Wolfs have a playful relationship, but both are extremely competitive.
That was evident early in their careers when playing time was at a minimum and the two were battling at the same position.
“Early in our career, it was a competition between us to get the playing spot, and minutes weren’t always distributed equally as we’d like,” Madison said. “It encouraged us to work harder every practice. With Mackenzie learning a new role and spot on the court, it will equal out the playing time where we can play together.”
Mackenzie, who is 27 minutes older than Madison, said the sisters push each other and make each other better players.
“They’re the nicest people I’ve ever been around,” Wurtz said. “I was lucky to come in with them because they’re nice, respectful and kind. You can see how much they support and like each other. Sometimes they’ll get in little arguments, but they are good right after.”
When the Wolf sisters are on the court together, they feel they have twin intuition where they know what each other is thinking.
“We have a bond that will never go away,” Mackenzie said. “We know each other’s thoughts and feelings. We’ve both experienced highs and lows together, so if we’re going through a tough time, the other one is able to help us push through it.”