By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team's big comeback attempt fell just short Saturday night, losing on the road to UW-Stevens Point 63-60.
The Blugolds were trailing 6-5 when Maddie Dunathan (So. – Hortonville, WI) hit a three pointer. From there the Blugolds would go on a run to lead 16-8, which included another three from Dunathan and two buckets from Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial). At the end of one quarter of play Eau Claire led 16-12.
Things went cold for the Blugolds to start the second and Stevens Point was there to capitalize. A 16-0 run for the Pointers during a seven-minute scoring drought gave them the eight-point advantage about half way through the second period.
Graaskamp ended the drought with a layup and Bree Meier (Sr. – Lakeville, MN/South) connecting from deep to pull the Blugolds within six. From there the Pointers stretched their lead up to 14 points before Kayla Hanley (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI) knocked a down a shot from beyond the arc in the final 30 seconds to give Eau Claire a little momentum heading into the break trailing 36-25.
At the half, Graaskamp led the team in scoring with eight as the Blugolds shot 16-30 (53.3 percent) from the field in the first half.
Eau Claire came out of the locker room and responded quickly. Two shots made by Graaskamp and a three by Hallee Hoeppner (Fr. – Winona, MN) got Eau Claire within six just two minutes into the third period. Two free throws by Graaskamp cut the Blugolds deficit to two and Hoeppner later tied it up with 3:51 remaining in the quarter.
With 1:20 left in the third the Blugolds fed it down low to Graaskamp and she delivered again giving Eau Claire their first lead since early in the second period. Some late shots at the line by Stevens Point gave them the lead back and were up 52-46 when the quarter came to a close.
A grouping of threes for the Blugolds helped them to tie this one back up. Jenni LaCroix (Jr. – Verona, WI) pulled them to within three and then Hanley found the range to notch it up at 52 all. Hanley wasn't done as a minute later she found the bottom of the net from beyond the arc again.
After Stevens Point pulled ahead by four with about three minutes remaining, Hoeppner launched one from deep for her second three of the game. In a one-point game with 30 seconds remaining the Pointers knocked in two crucial free throws. The Blugolds had two chances to tie it up but both shots from behind the three-point line were off and Stevens Point came away with the close victory.
Graaskamp led the team with 18 points and added 10 rebounds. Autumn Hennes of Stevens Point led all scorers with 29. Hanley was just behind Graaskamp with 17 and Hoeppner had eight points and four assists.
For the game Eau Claire shot 21-47 (44.7 percent) overall and 12-22(54.5 percent) from behind the arc. They also made 6-8 from the charity stripe and scored 24 points off forced turnovers.
The Blugolds (11-10, 5-5) are back in action on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when they face UW-Platteville in Zorn Arena.
Follow all the action this season on Blugold Game Day.