The women’s basketball team falls short against UW-Stevens Point

    A hard-fought game comes down to the final seconds for the Blugolds


    Photo by SUBMITTED

    Junior forward Kayla Hanley attempts a shot over her defender.

    It went down to the last second for the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team on Saturday, but the team came up just short of a win.

    After a close, hard-fought basketball game, the Blugolds fell to Stevens Point 63-60, dropping Eau Claire down to fifth in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) with a record of 5-5 in the conference and 11-10 overall.

    The game began as a shootout between the teams, Eau Claire leading after the first quarter 16-12.

    However, Stevens Point nearly shut down Eau Claire’s offense during the second quarter, outscoring them 24-9. Autumn Hennes led the Pointers’ offensive charge, scoring five points within one minute of play and ending the first half with 20 points.

    The Blugolds struggled to keep up the pace, turning the ball over multiple times. Each time, the Pointers took advantage and scored, creating a lead of 26-16.

    At 5:32, freshman forward, Anna Graaskamp, scored the first points of the second quarter for the Blugolds, and senior guard, Bree Meier, followed up with a three-point shot at 2:30.

    Junior forward, Kayla Hanley, closed out the first half with a three pointer at 0:28, bringing the halftime score to 36-25, the Blugolds still trailing.

    At the start of the third quarter, the Blugolds immediately took control, Graaskamp scoring twice and Hanley scoring two more three pointers within the first two minutes of play. Graaskamp and Hanley led the way offensively until 3:51 when freshman guard Hallee Hoeppner made a layup to tie the game at 40.

    The lead shifted back and forth between the teams until the final moments of the quarter. Stevens Point was led by Hennes and Lauren Anklam, who closed the quarter with a three-point jump shot, extending their lead to 52-46.

    The fourth quarter began with a steady stream of three pointers, two made by Hanley and one by junior point guard Jenni LaCroix. At 6:27, the game was tied again at 55.

    For the remainder of the fourth quarter, the Blugolds trailed the Pointers by a few points, faced with a shootout until the final seconds of the game.

    With only 23 second left in the game, Anklam made two free throws to extend the Pointers’ lead to 63-60. The Blugolds received the ball, and with five seconds left in the game, Hanley missed a three-point shot. Eau Claire rebounded, and Meier put up another three-point shot with one second left, but it was blocked by Mickey Roland of Stevens Point as the clock expired.

    Hanley and Graaskamp led the Blugolds offensively with 17 and 18 points respectively. Hanley also made 5-6 three-point shots.

    As a team, Eau Claire shot 21-47 (44.7 percent) from the field and 12-22 (54.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

    However, with a total of 29 points, Hennes from Stevens Point dominated offensively, making 12-16 field goals and 5-5 free throws.

    Stevens Point was also able to remain in the lead for most of the game (27:12), and their team took advantage of each rebound with 12 second chance points.

    The next step toward the WIAC tournament for the women’s basketball team will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 against UW-Platteville in Zorn Arena.