Women’s basketball bounced from conference tournament
The UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team lost to UW-Whitewater by a score of 57-53 in the semi-final game of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament Thursday night at Zorn Arena.
The Blugolds led the game 19-7 after seven minutes of game play, and did not give up the lead until a little under three minutes were left in the game.
Senior forward Callie Halama was the game’s leading scorer putting in 19 points and seven rebounds. Senior center Ellen Plendl scored 14 points to go along with her 17 rebounds.
Despite out shooting the Warhawks 41 percent to 27 percent, Eau Claire scored just two points in the last five minutes of the game, allowing UW-Whitewater to gain and hold the lead.
Eau Claire committed a season-high 28 turnovers in the game, well above their season average of 17.1 per game. Coach Tonja Englund said she thought this uncharacteristically high number was due to Whitewater’s physical play on defense.
“In the second half especially, I feel like they generated some turnovers with their press,” Englund said. “To tell you the truth, I think the pressure made us do some things that wasn’t Eau Claire basketball.”
The loss gives Eau Claire an overall record of 20-6 on the season, with a total conference record of 12-4, including the WIAC tournament.
Falling in the WIAC tournament means the Blugolds will not receive an automatic bid into the national tournament, and Eau Claire will now need an at-large bid to qualify for it. Coach Englund said she thinks the team still has a strong case of making it in.
“Ill make a strong statement that I think that four teams from this conference should go in,” Englund said. “I think all of us have power resumes, and if they split all four of us up in the tournament, we would all go very deep in the tournament.”
Eau Claire will find out if they receive an invite for the national tournament after the conference tournaments around the nation wrap up early next week.