By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
RICHARDSON, Texas (Blugolds.com) –The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball fell 56-51 in a back-and-forth contest versus the University of Texas at Dallas Comets on Saturday for a 1-1 record during the team's trip to Texas.
Maddie Dunathan (Fr. – Hortonville, WI) knocked down the first triple for the Blugolds at the 7:51 mark to give Eau Claire a 7-6 lead.
The Comets went on a 13-2 run, but Hallee Hoeppner (So. – Winona, MN) scored near the first quarter buzzer. The Blugolds trailed 19-11 at the end of one quarter of play.
Dallas extended their lead to 12 a little over a minute into the second quarter. The Blugolds scored seven straight to cut into the deficit with four coming from Katie Essen (Fr. –Farmington, MN/Rosemount).
Eau Claire continued to chip into the Comet's lead in the final few minutes prior to half. Kayla Hanley (Sr. – Chippewa Falls, WI) connected from deep to earn back the lead with 24 seconds remaining before halftime.
Eau Claire held a 28-27 lead at the break. The Blugolds shot 10-26 (38.5 percent) over the first two quarters.
The Blugolds put themselves up four, 33-29 with a 3-pointer by Jenni LaCroix (Sr. – Verona, WI) at the 5:36 mark of the third quarter. Dallas took back the lead with 1:17 left in the period.
At the end of three, Dallas led Eau Claire, 40-36.
The Blugolds cut the deficit to two twice in the first three minutes and traded baskets throughout the final quarter. Eau Claire struggled to tie things back up, but the Blugolds wouldn't let Dallas extend the lead past four points.
Both teams went on dry spells, as the game was scoreless for 2:59 late in the fourth quarter. Dallas ended the drought and led by four, 50-46 with 1:17 left in the game.
Hoeppner made it a three-point game with 31 seconds to play, but Dallas made 5-6 free throws to defeat the Blugolds 56-51.
For the game, Eau Claire shot 18-58 (31 percent), 5-25 (20 percent) from beyond the arc and 10-18 (55.6%) at the line. Eau Claire held a 39-37 advantage on the boards and had 14 assists on 18 made field goals.
Hoeppner had a game-high 18 points and Hanley added nine points and five rebounds. Essen scored eight points and pulled down sevens rebounds. Kelsey Bakken (So. – Marshall, WI) had four assists, five steals and a team-high eight rebounds.
Follow the action this season on Blugold Game Day.