EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team picked up their first win of the season on Saturday night, defeating St. Olaf 76-54 at Zorn Arena.
St. Olaf had a strong start, but a three-point play and layup by Arien Brennan (Sr. – Hayward, WI) gave the Blugolds momentum and held a 14-12 lead after the first quarter.
The Blugolds got things going in the second frame and with an Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) put back, Eau Claire took a 23-15 lead and forced a St. Olaf timeout.
The Blugold lead hit double digits on a long jumper from Kayla Hanley (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI) bringing the score to 29-18 with two minutes left before the half. A steal and three by Maddie Dunathan (So. – Hortonville, WI) put Eau Claire up 32-18 to end the first half. Brennan turned in a solid half of play, scoring 13 points and tallying five rebounds.
The Blugolds shot 41.7 percent (10-24) from the field and 40 percent (2-5) from three in the first half while holding the Oles to 20 percent (6-30) from the field and only 7.7 percent (1-13) from behind the arc.
Hallee Hoeppner (Fr. – Winona, MN) and Hanley started the third quarter with back-to-back triples, increasing the Blugold lead to 38-18 and forcing an Ole timeout.
Three consecutive possessions resulted in Blugold threes, two from Jenni LaCroix (Jr. – Verona, WI) and one from Bree Meier (Sr. – Lakeville, MN/South) as Eau Claire held a 56-35 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
The Blugolds stayed hot in the fourth, shooting 80 percent (8-10) from the field to cruise to a 76-54 win. Brennan, LaCroix, Graaskamp all scored in double figures for the Blugolds with 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively. Brennan and Graaskamp also led the Blugolds with six rebounds apiece. St. Olaf's MaKenna Ash led all scorers with 17 points.
For the game, Eau Claire shot an impressive 52.9 percent (27-51) from the field and 55.6 percent (10-18) from behind the arc. The Blugold defense held the Oles to 31 percent (18-58) from the field and 12.5 percent (3-24) from three.
Next up for the Blugolds is a match-up with St. Norbert College on Tuesday night in Zorn Arena. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
Follow all the action this season on Blugold Game Day.