Senior night ends in blowout


Story by Nick Erickson, Staff Writer

During its recent losing streak, the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team either started games out slowly or closed them poorly.

But after an 81-70 romp over UW-Stout on Senior Night Saturday at Zorn Arena, letdowns were nonexistent. The Blugolds dominated from start to finish, something that thoroughly pleased head coach Tonja Englund.

“I’m really, really pleased that we stepped up considering there was some pressure today,” said Englund.

All three seniors, Leah Rempert, Sarah Bingea and Casteele Miller played crucial roles in a much needed victory that snapped a five-game losing streak.

“I credit the seniors,” Englund said. “I thought they gave us some poise.”

Rempert had 16 points, Bingea had 13, including the thousandth of her career, and Miller had seven to lead the Blugolds to 80-plus points for the first time all season during a festive night in front of a packed crowd of 1,079 people.

“Senior night, alumni night, we got a big win against Stout, it was just perfect,” Bingea said.

The Blugolds started out the game on fire, going on an 8-2 run, including back to back 3-point baskets from Miller and freshman guard Teenie Lichtfuss.

“We hit shots early, and that really got our confidence going,” Englund said.  “I thought that was the difference right away.”

The Blugolds took a 12 point lead into half and led by as many as 18 in the second.

A big key to the blowout win was controlling the tempo of the game, which is something that they haven’t been doing lately. They scored 10 fast break points while holding Stout to a goose egg in that same category.

“We were really just pushing the ball and looking for our shots,” Rempert said.

Eau Claire was as offensively fluent as they’ve been all year, having 22 out of their 25 made baskets come with assists.

“This game, we really took the extra pass,” said freshman point guard Cady Roedl.  “We found the open player and actually knocked down the shots.”

Roedl, who has battled injuries during the second half of the season, came off the bench to score 18 points to lead all scorers.  She was happy to be contributing again.

“It feels really good to be out there and getting my shots up,” she said.  “My teammates found me and I’m glad I could knock them down for them.”

The win proved to be crucial as it gave them sole possession of sixth place going into the last two games of the season.

The Blugolds played UW-Platteville Wednesday night, besting the Pioneers 77-68 and clinching a valuable spot in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference tournament.

Sophomore forward Courtney Lewis led the way with 28 points, extending the season for her senior teammates. The Blugolds will wrap up the regular season Saturday evening at UW-Stevens Point.

Englund said Senior Night 2013 will forever go down as a memorable night for her.

“I didn’t think we could beat last year’s Senior Night (when we clinched the conference),” she said. “We’re in a different place now, but this one felt just as special.”