By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
DUBUQUE, Iowa (Blugolds.com) –The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team was handed their first loss of the season, 71-66 to the Loras College Duhawks, on the road Saturday afternoon.
Eau Claire trailed 7-4, when Hallee Hoeppner (So. – Winona, MN) connected from deep for the Blugolds first three of the game. Hoeppner added another three with 3:07 remaining in the first quarter to give Eau Claire a 15-12 advantage. That would spark the offense as the Blugolds ended the period on a 9-0 run.
The Blugolds led by as much as 11, but the Duhawks cut the lead to six wth 7:37 left in the first half of play. Buckets by Anna Graaskamp (So. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) and Kayla Hanley (Sr. – Chippewa Falls, WI) put Eau Claire up 10 about half way through the period.
At the break Eau Claire was up five, 38-33. The Blugolds shot 16-31 (51.6 percent) from the field over the first two quarters.
Out of the locker room Loras went on a run to tie it up at 38 just 1:40 into the third quarter. The Blugolds responded with 13-4 run to pull ahead 51-42. Heading into the final quarter, Eau Claire led 54-50.
The Duhawks started the fourth with eight straight, generating a Blugold timeout. Loras led by seven with 4:56 left in the game. The Blugolds fought back as a Graaskamp score evened the game at 63 with 2:40 remaining.
Hoeppner sunk her fifth 3-pointer of the game to give the Blugolds a one-point advantage in the last minute, but Loras would make six free throws in the last 22 seconds to give Eau Claire their first loss of the season.
Eau Claire ended the game shooting 25-54 (46.3 percent) from the floor, 7-20 (35 percent) from beyond the arc and 9-13 (69.2 percent) at the line.
The Blugolds scored 20 points off turnovers and outscored Loras 28-22 in the paint.
Hoeppner scored a career-high 22 points on five made 3-pointers and added five rebounds and five assists. Graaskamp had 18 points and Hanley scored seven.
The Blugolds (7-1) are back on the court next Saturday, Dec. 16 in Indianola, Iowa against Simpson College. Follow the action this season on Blugold Game Day.