Blugold women’s hoops keeps season alive with WIAC tournament win over Warhawks

Blugold women’s hoops wins fourth straight game with first round WIAC tournament win over UW-Whitewater

More stories from Trent Tetzlaff


The 2015-16 season of the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team has been one of highs and lows, disappointments, injuries and now excitement with a lot left unwritten.

Early in the season, sophomore leading scorer Erin O’Toole went down with an injury as the team went on a three-game skid. The team continually struggled to close out games late, and allowed team’s second chances.

Flip the script to Tuesday night on the road at UW-Whitewater, as the Blugolds finished beating the favored Warhawks by 10 points in the first round of the WIAC tournament, and you would never believe the Blugolds reached the lows they did at one point in the season.

Eau Claire dethroned the No. 24 Warhawks on Tuesday night, beating the Warhawks 69-59 with the help of a balanced scoring attack and strong defense, Coach Tonja Englund said.

Leading the way for the Blugolds was senior Teenie Lichtfuss, who scored 23 points, followed by the sophomore center O’Toole who had 20 of her own. Senior Arien Becker also contributed 10 points to help keep her season alive.

The win marks the fourth in a row for the Blugolds and the second straight against the Warhawks, after defeating them 68-55 just days earlier.

Englund said she is “extremely” happy with the resilience of her team recently and her seniors.

“I’m just really thrilled with how my team has responded just over the past week especially,” she said. “We’ve beat three ranked teams in the last 10 days, and to be able to make this trip twice, it hasn’t been easy.”

The Blugolds were able to gain momentum going into halftime as Lichtfuss hit a layup to take a 29-27 lead as time expired in the second quarter. The team never looked back from that point, Englund said.

Eau Claire shot 51.2 percent from the field, while holding the Warhawks to 35.9 percent. The Blugolds also out-rebounded Whitewater 39-27, while getting to the free-throw line 33 times. Englund said these stats played a large role Tuesday night.

“We’re shooting over 50 percent from the floor right now, so a lot of good decisions are being made on the offensive end,” Englund said.

The Blugolds will make a quick turn around as they face No. 11 UW-River Falls at 7 p.m. Thursday in River Falls in a semifinal matchup.