By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) –The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team was defeated on Wednesday night in Zorn Arena 76-55 by the hot shooting UW-La Crosse Eagles.
It started well for Eau Claire who jumped out to a 10-2 advantage more than four minutes into the game. Much of the early Blugold offense was derived from strong pressure defense leading to transition buckets.
Up by nine with a little more than two minutes remaining in the quarter, the Blugold lead dwindled down due what would become an all too familiar sight on the night. A La Crosse 3-pointer sparked an Eagles run.
Eau Claire still held their lead as the quarter closed, 17-12. Kelsey Bakken (So. – Marshall, WI) led the way with five first quarter points.
La Crosse drained two shot from beyond the arc and took the lead from the Blugolds within the first two minutes of the quarter.
Anna Graaskamp (So. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) did her best to match La Crosse's string of triples, but trading two points for three only lasted so long. La Crosse made 6 of 7 3-pointers during a streak where they outscored the Blugolds by 14 points.
At the break, La Crosse led 36-27. With Eau Claire struggling to a 0 of 7 mark from deep, La Crosse was deadly from distance making eight.
La Crosse didn't slow down much out of the locker room as the Eagles hit their first three on their second possession.
About halfway through the third quarter, the Blugolds finally hit a shot from deep as Kayla Hanley (Sr. – Chippewa Falls, WI) delivered for Eau Claire. By that time they trailed by 12 points.
Looking for a spark, Jenni LaCroix (Sr. – Verona, WI) made 3-pointers for the Blugolds on back-to-back possessions nearing the close of the quarter.
Eau Claire entered the final frame down 55-42.
It became challenging to attempt a comeback against a La Crosse team that was close to automatic from deep and seemed to come up with buckets each time the shot clock reached single digits.
The Blugolds couldn't quite cut their deficit under 10 points and the Eagles got the upset giving Eau Claire just their second home loss of the season.
It was difficult to keep up with a La Crosse offense that shot 54 percent from the field and made 12 of 22 3-pointers.
The Blugolds ended the game making 21 of 54 (38.9 percent) overall and just 3 of 20 (15 percent) from distance. Eau Claire did make 10 of their 14 shots from the charity stripe.
Graaskamp led the way for Eau Claire with 22 points. Bakken joined her in double figures with 10 points.
The Blugolds (15-7, 7-4) will look to get back in the win column as they hit the road to face UW-Platteville on Saturday starting at 3 p.m.
Follow the action this season on Blugold Game Day.