MANKATO, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire women's basketball team fell short 59-50 to NCAA Division II opponent Minnesota State University-Mankato tonight.
The Blugolds led at two different times in the first minute but after Eau Claire tied it up at 8-8 four minutes into the game, Mankato took a lead on its next possession and never looked back.
The first half remained close, however, as the Blugolds stayed within seven points the entire time. At one time, the Blugolds used a 5-0 run to close to within one point and found themselves down by just two points with less than two minutes remaining in the half. But MSU closed the half on a 5-0 run to take a seven-point lead into halftime.
In the second half, Mankato opened on a 10-3 run to get up by 14 points, and while the Blugolds were able to get within five a few times the rest of the way, MSU hung on to remain undefeated on the season.
Nicole Christianson (Sr.-Chetek, Wis.) led the Blugolds in scoring and rebounding with 19 points and seven rebounds. Ellen Plendl (Sr.-Chippewa Falls, Wis./McDonell) added 13 points and had five rebounds. While Sarah Bingea (Jr.-Delano, Minn.) had nine points, she was just 1-for-11 from the field. Seven of her points came at the free throw line, where she was 7-for-8. As a team, the Blugolds were 13-for-16 from the line (81.3 percent).
Eau Claire drops to 3-2 on the season while Mankato improves to 4-0. The two teams have only met one other time in history, a season ago, and the Blugolds won that game 66-54.
Sunday the Blugolds will be home for a contest against Cornell College (Iowa). Action is set to get underway at 3 p.m.