EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Despite trailing by as much as 11 points in the first half, the UW-Eau Claire women's basketball team was able to get past Ripon College 64-62 on the first day of the Blugolds' Tip-Off Tournament at Zorn Arena tonight.
With the win, the Blugolds advance to the championship game of the tournament, Saturday at 5 p.m., against Illinois Wesleyan University, which moved to the championship game after beating Coe College (Iowa) 77-66 earlier Friday.
While Nicole Christianson (Sr.-Chetek, Wis.) hit the game's opening basket to give the Blugolds a 2-0 lead, Ripon went on a 7-0 run to get up 7-2 just a minute and a half into the game.
Over the first six minutes, Ripon outscored the Blugolds 17-6 to build an 11-point advantage. Sparked by back-to-back three pointers, one by Leah Rempert (Jr.-Lake Geneva, Wis./Badger) and another by Christianson, the Blugolds got to within two after an 18-9 run, ending with just under six minutes to go in the half.
But over the next three minutes, Ripon used an 8-0 run to get back up by 10 and Ripon took a 34-26 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Blugolds opened with a 10-0 run to take a 36-34 lead, holding Ripon scoreless for nearly five minutes. The game remained close the rest of the night and the Blugolds outscored Ripon over the final three minutes 10-5 to help in the win.
Ellen Plendl (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) led the game with three blocks, all coming midway through the second half, while she finished with game and career-high 18 rebounds. She also scored 15 points, nine of which came in the second half.
Sarah Bingea (Jr.-Delano, Minn.) led the game with a career-high 23 points, 17 of which were scored in the second half. Christianson added 11 points and had a career and game-high nine assists.
As a team, the Blugolds shot 50 percent overall (25-for-50) after going 16-for-27 in the second half (59.3 percent). They outrebounded Ripon 38-23.
Eau Claire improves to 2-0 on the season while Ripon drops to 0-1.