By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) –The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team had four players in double figures as they earned a big conference win over the No. 13 UW-Oshkosh Titans 67-62 in Zorn Arena on Saturday night.
With about two minutes remaining and the shot clock winding down, Kelsey Bakken (So. – Marshall, WI) buried a triple from the right corner off a drive from Maddie Dunathan (Fr. – Hortonville, WI) for the Blugolds to go up four. They then closed things out with 8 of 10 free throw shooting down the stretch.
The win moves Eau Claire to 9-1 on their home floor.
It was a defensive battle early as the Blugolds forced Oshkosh into 1 of 6 shooting over the first three minutes. Two scores from Anna Graaskamp (So. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) gave Eau Claire a 4-3 advantage 3:30 into the game.
Oshkosh then scored six straight and halfway through the quarter they were up 9-4.
Maddie Dunathan (Fr. – Hortonville, WI) came off the bench for the Blugolds and she buried a triple pulling Eau Claire within two.
Graaskamp then put together two excellent post moves on back-to-back possessions and Eau Claire went up by two with 1:46 left in the quarter.
On the next trip down the floor, the Titans got a three-point play and the quarter ended with the score 14-13, Oshkosh.
Through the first three minutes of the second quarter, the Blugolds and Titans traded baskets.
Dunathan again knocked down a shot from distance that separated Eau Claire from Oshkosh as they took a 21-18 lead halfway through the second quarter.
The Blugolds took a five-point lead when Dunathan found Jenni LaCroix (Sr. – Verona, WI) in transition with about two minutes left before the half.
Oshkosh responded with a bucket with time winding down and things were locked up at 25 at the half.
The Blugolds outscored Oshkosh 12-11 with both Graaskamp and Bakken on the bench for the entirety of the quarter with foul trouble.
Through the first two quarters Eau Claire shot 11 of 24 (45.8 percent) from the field and held Oshkosh to 9-28 (32.1 percent) shooting and only one made 3-pointer.
Brooke Harris (So. – Green Bay, WI/Bay Port) found a cutting Graaskamp near the end of the shot clock for the first points out of the locker room.
Graaskamp would score another four surrounding a transition bucket from Bakken for a 31-25 advantage three minutes into the quarter.
Oshkosh connected on a 3-pointer on the following trip down the floor that made it a three-point game with four minutes left in the quarter.
Inside scores from Graaskamp put the Blugolds up eight with 1:32 left in the third. Then the biggest shot of the quarter came once again from Dunathan, as she made her third 3-pointer of the game to lead 46-35.
Oshkosh fought back with a 4-0 run to end the quarter.
In the final quarter the Titans came out on fire from deep as Emma Melotik made two 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the quarter. Still up by three, 50-47, Eau Claire took a timeout hoping to slow down the Titan run.
After Oshkosh took a one-point lead, LaCroix found the distance to steal the lead right back.
With four minutes left in the game, Eau Claire was up 56-51.
The Titans didn't go away cutting the Blugold lead to one.
Then the Blugolds got the biggest shot of the night as Dunathan found Bakken in the corner. The rainbow three dropped through the net to put Eau Claire up 59-55.
Four free throws from LaCroix and 8 of 10 overall closed the game out.
For the game, Eau Claire shot 26 of 54 (48.1 percent) from the floor, 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from deep and 10 of 14 (71.4 percent) at the line.
Graaskamp had a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds. LaCroix scored 15 points and had four assists. Bakken got 11 and Dunathan made each of her three 3-point attempts on her way to double figures with 10.
The Blugolds did a good job of taking care of the ball with only 11 turnovers and tallied 16 assists.
Eau Claire remains a game back of first place UW-Whitewater with four conference games remaining.