By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team fell to 4-4 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play despite a career-high from Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) in their 57-45 loss to the No. 15th ranked UW-Oshkosh Titans on Saturday night in Zorn Arena.
The Blugolds got on the board first when Graaskamp sunk a three pointer. The Blugolds led 8-5 halfway through the period after Jenni LaCroix (Jr. – Verona, WI) knocked down the Blugolds' second three of the quarter. A three pointer at the buzzer allowed the Titans to tie the game up after the first period of play.
A scoring drought by Eau Claire gave Oshkosh a 27-16 lead with just under five minutes before the half. The Blugolds would have a run of their own to get back in it. LaCroix drained a shot from deep to pull within six with under a minute before the break and then Elly Boles (Jr. – Prescott, WI) finished a layup with six seconds left on a well-drawn up play.
At the half, Oshkosh held a 29-25 lead over the Blugolds. Graaskamp led the offensive charge in the first half totaling 13 points on 6-8 shooting. Eau Claire shot 11-23 (48.3 percent) from the floor before halftime.
Needing to be more aggressive after a half of zero free throw attempts, Kayla Hanley (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI) forced a foul on the first Blugold possession and brought her team within two.
After that, the offense for the Blugolds went cold. The Titans managed a 13-0 run that gave them a 42-27 lead with about three minutes remaining in the third period. The Blugolds were able to cut into the lead, but still trailed by 11 with one quarter left.
Oshkosh left the door open as the Blugold defense clamped down, allowing the Titans to only one more made field goal for the entire fourth quarter. The Oshkosh defense made things just as tough for the Blugolds. Even without the big shot they needed Eau Claire still pulled within five, 48-43 with two minutes remaining. An 0-8 performance from distance in the second half and clutch free throws by Oshkosh - who made 9-10 free throws over the last minute - moved Eau Claire to even in conference play on the season.
For the game, Eau Claire made 20-53 (37.7 percent) overall shots from the field and 3-17 (17.6 percent) from behind the arc. Graaskamp led all scorers with a career-high 21 points while adding six rebounds. LaCroix added eight points and four assists off the bench.
The Blugolds (10-9, 4-4) are back in action on Wednesday when they host UW-Stout at Zorn Arena starting at 7 p.m.
Follow all the action this season on Blugold Game Day.