EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Despite being down by nine points with a minute and a half remaining in the contest, the UW-Eau Claire women's basketball team fought to the end but came up just short 57-55 to St. Norbert College in Zorn Arena tonight.
With no scoring from either team for the first two minutes, St. Norbert made the first basket and built a 9-3 lead eight minutes into the game. Over the next 10 minutes the Blugolds got back into the game, outscoring the Green Knights 18-10. They took their first lead three minutes before halftime with a Casteele Miller (Sr.-Stanley, Wis./Eau Claire Regis) layup to make it 21-19. By halftime, the Blugolds led by five (26-21).
Over the final minute of the first half and one minute into the second half, the Blugolds used a 7-0 run to get up 28-21. Teenie Lichtfuss (Fr.-Oshkosh, Wis./Lourdes) scored five points during that stretch.
The Blugolds led for almost eight minutes of the second half, but the momentum shifted and St. Norbert used a 16-6 run to take an eight-point lead with less than six minutes remaining.
After the Blugolds closed to within three, the Green Knights then went on a 6-0 run to get up by nine with 1:30 left on the board. Eau Claire didn't go away, however, and used a 12-4 run to close to within one point with just seconds left. But that was as close as the Blugolds would get, and St. Norbert hit a free throw at the end to win by two.
While Eau Claire outshot the Green Knights 51.1 percent (23-for-45) to 35.7 percent (20-for-56) and led in rebounding 32-30, the Blugolds committed 23 turnovers to 13 for St. Norbert. The Green Knights converted the Blugolds' turnovers to 27 points while Eau Claire scored just 15 off St. Norbert turnovers.
St. Norbert is now 3-0 on the season while Eau Claire drops to 1-2. The win for the Green Knights was their first in Zorn Arena in history, in a series Eau Claire leads 18-4.
Saturday, the Blugolds will be at Cornell College (Iowa) for a game that gets underway at 2 p.m.