Freshman Lindsey Williams’ game-tying, 3-point attempt bounced harmlessly off the rim with seven seconds left, and the Eau Claire women’s basketball team’s season ended with its third loss to rival UW-Stout, 71-68 on Wednesday night.
Stout’s Stacie Anderson made two free throws with 13 seconds left to give Stout the three-point lead. The Blugolds had only one opportunity for the tying shot.
With a baseline jumper, freshman Emilee Planert had tied the game at 68 with 33 seconds left, but the Blue Devils – ranked 11th nationally in the D3hoops.com poll – converted three out of four free throws in the final 30 seconds to advance to the WIAC title game.
The first half against Stout was a half of runs. After the game tied at 8, Stout went on an 11-1 run to take a 19-9 lead.
The Blugolds responded with an 18-2 run to take a six-point lead, and Stout scored the next 10 points to take a 31-27 lead.
Junior Kristi Channing led the ‘Golds with 17 points, and senior Sarah Hughes added 13 in her final game as a Blugold.
In the first round of the conference tournament, the Blugolds hosted fifth-seeded Platteville in a rematch of last year’s WIAC championship game, which Eau Claire won.
The Blugolds were able to avoid a nail-biter this year by slowly pulling away in the second half on their way to a 70-60 victory on Monday.
Hughes led the Blugolds in the second half, getting several inside looks that resulted in either Eau Claire baskets or trips to the foul line.
“Sarah Hughes made a big difference for us,” coach Tonja Englund said. “She took some charges and made some big shots for us.”
Channing, who led the Blugolds with 14 points against Platteville, described Hughes’ second-half play succinctly.
“Sarah played like there was no tomorrow,” Channing said.
Hughes finished the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Planert and Wozniak also scored 10 points each for Eau Claire.
The Blugolds finish the season 19-7. This is the first year they haven’t advanced to the WIAC championship game.