By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
LA CROSSE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team was knocked out of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championships (presented by Culver's) after falling 69-57 to UW-La Crosse Wednesday night in the first round.
Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) scored the first four points for the Blugolds, cutting into an early La Crosse lead. The Eagles closed out the first quarter leading 15-4.
La Crosse went on a 6-1 run before Bree Meier (Sr. – Lakeville, MN/South) knocked one in from deep for the last score before the half. La Crosse led 24-13 at the break. Eau Claire shot only 5-27 (18.5 percent) in the first half of play.
After La Crosse opened the third period on a 6-0 run, Graaskamp responded for the Blugolds notching back-to-back baskets. Maddie Dunathan (So. – Hortonville, WI) connected on a three pointer with 4:19 left in the third to bring the Blugold back within 13. From there the Eagles went on a 14-7 run to lead by 20, 49-29, heading into the final period.
The Blugolds would not go away as Hanley and Graaskamp combined for a 6-0 start for Eau Claire to begin the fourth. After a La Crosse free throw, the Blugolds started another run. This time it was seven straight points to make it a 13-1 run over the first 3:15 of the period.
With 3:37 remaining in the game Dunathan hit a jump shot to cut the lead to seven and then Graaskamp brought the game to a 59-54 score with just over a minute to go. However, La Crosse made 10 free throws in the last minute to get the opening round tournament win.
Eau Claire's second half run was boosted by a 17-34 second half shooting performance. For the game, the Blugolds shot 22-61 (36.1 percent) from the field and 10-14 (71.4 percent) at the line.
Graaskamp had a game-high 24 points, with 20 in second half. She also added eight rebounds. Dunathan had 10 points and five assists, while Hanley scored 9 points with four assists.
The Blugolds close out their season at 13-13 overall.