By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team got back in the win column by defeating UW-Stout 83-67 behind a balanced offensive attack Wednesday night in Zorn Arena.
The Blugolds jumped ahead quickly 7-2 on a shot from deep by Maddie Dunathan (So. – Hortonville, WI) 3:40 seconds into the game, however, Stout matched Eau Claire shot for shot over the next few minutes of the quarter. With 1:54 remaining in the first period Hallee Hoeppner (Fr. – Winona, MN) connected from long distance and put the Blugolds up 22-13.
Eau Claire opened up the scoring in the second period by once again knocking down the long shot. This time it was Bree Meier (Sr. – Lakeville, MN/South) with the bucket. Leading by 10 points a little over half way through the quarter, the Blue Devils responded by making back-to-back threes to narrow their deficit.
It was Hoeppner finding the range behind the arc once again as she buried her second three of the first half. Stout hit some shots in the final minute of the half and the Blugolds headed to the locker room at the break ahead 37-33.
Eau Claire shot 15-31 (48.4 percent) from the field in the first half while Hoeppner led all scorers at the half with 10 points.
A Stout three pointer on the first possession of the third period made it a one score game. The Blugolds responded a few minutes later as a Dunathan three gave the Blugolds a 44-38 advantage.
The score was tight for much of the quarter as the Blugolds gave up the lead for the first time in the game 47-46. Eau Claire wouldn't let that stand for too long as three's from Jenni LaCroix (Jr. – Verona, WI) and Meier gave the Blugolds the 59-51 lead with a minute to play in the quarter. Eau Claire headed into the final period leading 61-55.
LaCroix was the hot hand for Eau Claire ending consecutive possessions with made three-pointers. Stout would only pull to within seven in the remaining quarter as Eau Claire made 5 of 6 free throws and extended their lead to the largest of the game as the clock hit zero.
Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) did most of her damage in the second half of play with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. She ended the game with 16 points and 13 boards.
Hoeppner tallied 17 points while LaCroix had 11. Arien Brennan (Sr. – Hayward, WI) had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Dunathan had 12 points and did a great job at point guard adding six assists with no turnovers.
In what was one of their more efficient games of the season the Blugolds only turned the ball over five times while shooting 10-24 (41.7 percent) from three and 28-58 (48.3 percent) from the field. The Blugolds had 18 assists on 28 made field goals. They also made 17-20 (85 percent) at the line.
The Blugolds (11-9, 5-4) are back in action on Saturday when they travel to take on UW-Stevens Point starting at 3 p.m.
Follow all the action this season on Blugold Game Day.