Sahr’s career night not enough

Story by Nick Erickson, Staff Writer

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While the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball pushed their losing streak to five games Saturday with a 61-53 loss at UW-River Falls, they might have found the offensive spark that had been missing, and it came from an unlikely source.

Kristin Sahr, a sophomore guard who came into the contest averaging just 3.5 points per game, came off the bench and erupted for a career high 23 points, 18 of them in the first half, to keep the Blugolds, 9-13 (4-9), in the game.

“I was just going in there and trying to make an instant impact,” Sahr said.  “I looked at what the defense gave me and just tried to attack where it was open.”

Sahr’s performance definitely raised some eyebrows, including those of 13 year head coach, Tonja Englund.

“I thought she had one of the best individual performances off the bench of any player since the time I’ve been here,” Englund said.

Sahr, a 3-point specialist, connected on 4-of-9 long balls against the Falcons.  When she hits from outside, it opens up the floor for the Blugolds’ marquee players on the post.

“It helps us spread the defense,” Sahr said.  “When everyone’s contributing from the outside, it spaces it out.”

The Blugolds found space in the River Falls defense at the end of the first half.  After trailing 25-12 with 6:15 left in half, Sahr scored 12 points in a 20-7 Blugold run to tie the score at 32 going into halftime.

“That last run going into the half was some of the best basketball that we’ve played all year,” Englund said.

River Falls came out of the halftime locker room on a 6-0 run over a span of just over three minutes to gain a 38-32 advantage.  The Blugolds responded with an 11-5 run of their own and with 12:34 left in the second half, the game was tied at 43.

Unfortunately for the Blugolds, that would be the last time the game would be tied, as the Falcon’s Hailey Siegle hit a jump shot with 12:16 left to play that would give River Falls a 45-43 advantage, a lead that they would never relinquish.

Even though it was another loss, positives certainly came out of the game.

Just nights earlier, the Blugolds were blown out at UW-Oshkosh in a 69-44 loss and its offense went awry in the second half of that game against the Titans.

During Saturday’s matchup in River Falls, the Blugolds only turned the ball over six times and battled to the end, as the Falcons lead never got past the final margin of eight points.

Also, with the team looking for another scorer with Cady Roedl and Sarah Bingea still not 100 percent healthy,  Sahr gave Englund another scoring threat.

“It’s a great sign for us to have so many different people at different points of the year have those great individual performances,” Englund said.

While Sahr’s confidence rose with every shot she swished home on Saturday, her belief in the team making and advancing in the WIAC tournament is also very strong.

“I’m very confident in our abilities,” Sahr said. “We’re really starting to come together.”

The Blugolds will test those words as they play an incredibly crucial home game against UW-Stout Saturday evening in Zorn Arena.

A milestone could be reached during the game, as Bingea only needs 13 more points to surpass 1,000 for her career.

Tip off is set for 5 p.m.

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