UWEC women’s basketball comes up short despite strong defense

    UWEC women’s basketball falls to UW-La Crosse as they fight to break their losing streak

    More stories from Kaitlyn Zenner


    Photo by Kaitlyn Zenner

    Head coach Tonja Englund discusses strategy with her team as they head into the fourth quarter down 29-39.

    Saturday marked a seventh straight loss for the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team as they enter their last stretch of conference matchups.

    UW-Eau Claire kept the game tight at the start of the first quarter, taking hold of the lead at the 9:27 mark. The Blugolds began to fall behind, but the score was a close 12-15 as the buzzer signaled the end of the first quarter.

    As the second quarter started up, UW-Eau Claire continued contending with the Eagles, largely due to Hallee Hoeppner, a third-year, who had the ability to drive to the basket and score. Despite Hoeppner’s offensive contributions, the Eagles put in 50 percent of their three-point shots. UW-Eau Claire put up 12 more points against UW-La Crosse’s 15, making the score 24-30 at halftime.

    The Eagles jumped to a 10-point lead early in the third quarter and kept this lead throughout all of the second half, finally defeating the Blugolds 50-62 as the fourth quarter came to a close.

    Head coach Tonja Englund partially attributed this unfavorable outcome to the offensive shortcomings the team had.

    “I think the last couple of games defensively we’ve done a much better job and our offense has come to a stop, unfortunately,” Englund said. “We’re usually averaging close to 70 points a game. We’ve gotta be able to play at both ends.”

    The little mistakes that the team made throughout the game also contributed to the team’s loss, Englund said.  

    “I felt like there were times when we got back into the game and we had a key turnover, we didn’t finish a two-foot shot, just certain little things that during this losing streak, a lot of times it’s been on us,” Englund said.

    Maddie Dunathan, a fourth-year point guard, also said the team had trouble getting into an offensive rhythm.

    “We shot the ball very poorly today, which is normally our strong point, so that has to be something we get back for next game,” Dunathan said.

    Despite the loss on Senior Night, Englund said she commended Dunathan, the lone senior on the team.

    “Maddie has had a great four years here, and especially as a point guard, as a coach a lot of times you rely heavily on your point guards, you push them, you expect a lot out of them,” Englund said. “I give Maddie a lot of credit. She’s done a great job of leading and mentoring.”

    The Blugolds look to play their next conference game at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 at UW-River Falls.

    Zenner can be reached at [email protected].