Women’s basketball falls in a grind-it-out game that came down to free throws and rebounding


Teenie Lichtfuss scored 16 points Wednesday night to lead the Blugolds to a 64-59 win. – File photo by Nick Erickson

Story by Nick Erickson, Editor in Chief

Winning a WIAC championship has long been the concrete goal for the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team.

Coach Tonja Englund and her veteran-laden Blugolds will begin that mission looking uphill after falling cold in a 59-53 loss to UW-Stevens Point Wednesday in Zorn Arena for the conference opener.

Eau Claire shot 35 percent, including just 67 from the free-throw line, and was outrebounded 42 to 28 by the Pointers.

“I didn’t like our effort tonight; we looked out of sync,” Englund said.

The Blugolds, which came into Wednesday’s game as the best shooting team in the WIAC and 15th best in the entire country, couldn’t get much to fall despite only turning the ball over seven times.

But the big stat was that Englund’s group only racked up nine assists. The Blugolds average 17 assists per game in their three victories while only topping out at 14 a game in their four losses.

“We weren’t moving as much as we usually do,” senior guard Kristin Sahr said. “We just kind of went away from our moving and cutting that helped us win games before.”

Sahr, who has become the Blugolds hottest scorer in the last three contests, scored 13 points but was only 4-of-13 from the floor.

Sahr wasn’t the only key contributor who struggled to find the bottom of the net Wednesday.

Junior Teenie Lichtfuss hit a couple of late 3-pointers to keep the Blugolds afloat, but she finished 3-of-9 from the field to get 11 points.

Courtney Lewis, who recorded a rare triple-double Saturday at North Central (Ill.), was held to 20 percent from the floor.

“We had a tough shooting night, and that’s going to happen,” Englund said.

Eau Claire still had a chance to win late, but the Pointers made key free throws down the stretch. But with the big goals this season, there are no moral victories in her locker room this season.

“It’s not that type of year,” she said. “We’ve been in those critical situations before.”

The Blugolds won’t have to wait long as the uphill climb begins Saturday at UW-River Falls. Sahr said they will be more than ready to get back at it.