Foul first weekend

After falling in what head coach Tonja Englund called unexpected fashion Friday night against Carroll University, the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team got back on the offensive track.

They made three more shots from the field and were eight percentage points higher in field goal percentage than their opponent from Luther College (Iowa).

But the Norse outshined the Blugolds from the free-throw line in a big way, going 26-34 from the charity stripe opposed to Eau Claire’s 10-20. That 16-point differential led to a 70-62 Blugold loss, sending the Blugolds to an 0-2 start at home this season.

“We had good free throw shooters on the line in those situations who generally hit those,” Englund said. “This group is still not there when it comes to getting scores and stops back to back.”

Friday night, the Pioneers from Carroll used a half-court trap defense to stymie the Blugolds offense, holding them to just 49 points and forcing 24 turnovers in a 65-49 final. Eau Claire’s only lead in the game was 3-0 after junior Courtney Lewis hit a three in the game’s first possession.

Saturday, Eau Claire held on to the basketball, only turning it over 15 times and assisting on 17 of their 24 made field goal attempts.

A big key for the Blugolds was getting the ball into the post and getting points in the paint, which junior forward Carly Chell, who scored a team-high 15 points Saturday, said is a big point of emphasis in the offense.

“I think we need to put it in there more,” Chell said. “We finished really well once we got it in.”

The Blugolds went on a 10-0 run near the end of the first half against the Norse. Three of those five baskets during that time came on nearly identical plays. In all three, Lewis eventually scored on a turnaround jumper in the lane after assists from sophomore point guard Teisha Wegner.

Englund said the big key to getting the ball in post was the passing, which her team improved on coming back in the second game.

“I thought we played a lot better (Saturday)” Englund said. “Our compete level was better.”

At the head of the offensive attack was sophomore shooting guard turned point guard Teenie Lichtfuss. In her first two games at the helm of the Blugold offense, Lichtfuss combined for 30 points (18 and 12), 12 rebounds (6 and 6) and 12 assists (6 and 6).

Englund said she was impressed by her in the opening weekend.

“I think she’s doing a great job,” Englund said of Lichtfuss. “You notice her at the point, no question about it. She distributes well, she’s a big point guard. I like her there because she has the ball more.”

The Blugolds will have a chance to revamp their home-court atmosphere tonight against St. Scholastica (Minn.).

Even though they come into play with an 0-2 record, Lichtfuss said she isn’t panicked at all and fully expects the team to come back and get on track.

“I think there’s a bunch of little areas that we just need to tweak,” Lichtfuss said. “I’m not concerned. I know that our team has the talent, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

Tip-off is set for 7:00 tonight in Zorn Arena.