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Filed under Sports

Men and women’s basketball teams come up short in Whitewater

Posted at 6:00 a.m. 2/15/10

This past Saturday both the UW-Eau Claire women’s and men’s basketball teams went head-to-head with one of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s top teams, UW-Whitewater. While the Blugolds played hard until the last buzzer sounded, both the men and women returned to Eau Claire with losses of 62-54 and 81-69, respectively.

Women’s Basketball

For the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team, this weekend was another missed chance for a big win against one of the WIAC leaders. The Blugolds were unable to recover after losing the lead in the second half and were handed a 62-54 loss in Whitewater on Saturday evening.

“We put ourselves in a good position to win, but ultimately they out-played and out-hustled us when the game was on the line, which was very disappointing after how well we played on Wednesday,” junior Hannah Mesick said.

Although the Blugolds team entered the locker room with a 34-25 lead over the Warhawks and kept control for most of the second, Whitewater took over with less than five minutes remaining. Eau Claire didn’t trail far behind as they closed the gap to four at 58-54 with just over a minute left in the game, but miscues on both the offense and defense allowed Whitewater to take the win.

With turnover statistics that were double that of Whitewater (20-10), the Blugolds allowed the Warhawks nineteen points off of turnovers.

“We had a lot of mental breakdowns and didn’t play to our game plan,” Mesick said. “We missed key free-throws down the stretch and have a few critical turnovers.”

The Blugolds were productive on offense as Mesick secured 22 points – the ninth time this season she has finished at or above the 20-point mark. Freshman Sarah Bingea also finished with double-digits at 13 and sophomore Laura Olson, who was held scoreless in the second, had nine.

The women’s team now falls to 7-7 in the WIAC and 8-15 overall. To be one of the six teams with a spot in the WIAC tournament, Eau Claire needs a win in one of two final games next week or a UW-Platteville loss. The Blugolds hope to find victory on the road as they travel to UW-Superior on Wednesday and UW-Stout on Saturday.

Men’s Basketball

The UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team was dealt another setback this weekend, falling 81-69 in a road game against UW-Whitewater Saturday evening. Although the Blugolds secured the lead within the starting minutes of the first, UW-Whitewater took control with 9:42 remaining in the half and carried it forward for the win.

“We were disappointed with the loss,” senior Geoff Probst said. “We just didn’t play well enough for the whole game. We let them make too many runs. Offensively we didn’t move the ball around, and defensively we gave up too many open shots.”

Although the Eau Claire men’s team maintained control during the first ten minutes of play, a 22-6 run by Whitewater resulted in a 41-29 Warhawk lead. Midway through the second half, Whitewater built a 21-point lead (70-49) and the Blugolds spent the last eight minutes of the game closing the gap.

While the Blugolds were able to bring the game to an 11-point difference, the Warhawks took the win, which keeps Whitewater tied with UW-Stevens Point as leaders of the WIAC standings.

“We needed to make some improvements on the defensive end,” Probst said. “On the offensive end we needed to start moving the ball and getting ourselves open. Too often we were stagnant on offense.”

The UW-Eau Claire men’s team now falls to 6-8 in the WIAC and 14-9 overall. But despite the loss, three Blugolds secured double figures: Probst led with 21 points, junior Amadou Fofana added 15 and senior Colin Boone finished with 11.

The Blugolds will end their regular season with a home game against UW-Superior on Wednesday and a trip to UW-Stout on Saturday.

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