Women’s basketball team faces second round of conference play

The Blugolds confidently face the second round of conference play



Eight games remain for the Blugolds, then the elusive WIAC title.

Only a handful of games remain for UW-Eau Claire’s women’s basketball team as the first round of conference play comes to an end. With an overall record of 9-8, and a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) record of 3-3, the team is sitting right in the middle of the conference.

Senior and captain, Bree Meier, said the team has had to play some challenging non-conference games; nevertheless, they have improved every game.

“Our success is based on us,” Meier said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We need to control what we can control and do what we do well every game.”

Meier said the team felt confident after coming away with a win against UW-Stevens Point; Meier herself scored 17 points, a career high. Having Anna Graaskamp back, whom Meier called their “freshman stud post player,” allowed the perimeter to open up and Meier’s teammates to get her the ball.

Graaskamp, the team’s lead scorer, had suffered a concussion and was out of the team’s lineup for a few weeks, Meier said. In addition, senior and captain Ellen Blacklock has been out with injuries but is working hard to come back.

Despite these injuries, Meier said the women’s basketball team has improved on closing games.

“We had a lot of games last year that we dropped and lost,” Meier said. “This year we’re getting better at staying disciplined and finishing up those games.”

As the team approaches the end of the season, Meier said they have to continually improve on sticking to their game plan by not allowing the opposing team to dictate how they play. She said they will continue to train not only in the gym, but also on strengthening their mental toughness.

However, following close wins against Stevens Point — and UW-Stout the week before — Meier said she is confident the Blugolds will excel through the end of conference play and into the postseason.

The WIAC tournament marks the end of the season, Meier said, where each team enters with a clean slate. The team that wins the tournament gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. So far, Eau Claire is fifth in the conference, tied with Stevens Point at 3-3; however, Stevens Point has a stronger overall record of 11-6.

For Meier and the team, a victory at the WIAC tournament would be significant.

“Last time UW-Eau Claire won a WIAC title was 2012 and by our standards, that’s been too long since we’ve done it again,” Meier said. “Personally, I have never been to an NCAA tournament or won a WIAC title, so as a senior that’s something that would mean a lot to me this year and my teammates.”

Eight games still separate the team from the much-anticipated tournament, and a lot can change. It seems one thing that will not change is the women’s basketball team’s dedication to improvement and teamwork.

The Eau Claire women’s basketball schedule will continue Jan. 25 at Platteville; the second round of conference play will then commence on Jan. 28 against UW-Oshkosh in Zorn Arena.