By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) –The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team used a big run in the third quarter that turned a slow start into a rout as Blugold defeated UW-Stout 85-62 in Zorn Arena on Wednesday night.
Early in this one the interior defense of the Blugolds struggled. Stout scored six of their first eight points in the paint and got out to an 8-4 advantage 3:30 minutes into the game.
Two triples from the Stout put the Blugolds down 14-4 with 4:21 remaining in the quarter.
Katie Essen (Fr. –Farmington, MN/Rosemount) stopped the Blugold drought with a bucket inside inciting a scoring run. Eau Claire scored seven straight, including a three-point play from Kayla Hanley (Sr. – Chippewa Falls, WI), and were back in it.
A turnover late in the quarter led to a run out for Stout and at the end of a quarter of play they were up on the Blugolds 22-15.
The Blugold deficit remain fairly constant for the opening part of the second quarter, but Kelsey Bakken (So. – Marshall, WI) got a breakaway layup after a steal from Maddie Dunathan (Fr. – Hortonville, WI) that made it a six-point game with 6:24 before the half.
Stout responded with a 3-pointer to keep their advantage.
A deep jumper from Hanley and a reverse layup from Anna Graaskamp (So. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) made it 31-28 with 2:40.
Then buckets from Bakken and Jenni LaCroix (Sr. – Verona, WI), after a steal, gave Eau Claire their first lead of the game.
It didn't hold long as Stout came back with six straight points, and the Blugolds trailed 37-32 at halftime.
Eau Claire shot 14 of 33 (42.6 percent) from the floor during the first two quarters.
Out of the break, Stout opened the scoring, but Graaskamp buried a shot from beyond the arc on the Blugolds second offensive possession.
At the seven minutes mark, Hallee Hoeppner (So. – Winona, MN) connected from deep and then Dunathan scored on a fast break after Bakken forced a turnover, putting Eau Claire back in front.
With the score tied at 44, four minutes into the third quarter, the Blugolds went on a 20-2 run to take control.
During the run, Dunathan and Bakken each scored five points, and LaCroix scored from behind the arc on back-to-back possessions to break things open.
After three quarters of play Eau Claire held a 64-46 advantage over Stout. The Blugolds outscored the Blue Devils 32-9 during the quarter.
LaCroix continued her hot shooting from deep draining her third 3-pointer in three attempts early in the fourth quarter.
Graaskamp gave Eau Claire their largest lead a little over halfway through the final quarter, going up 75-53.
After excellent production from the starters, the reserved earned some quality minutes and closed out the game.
The 85-62 win gives the Blugolds a season sweep over the Blue Devils.
For the game, Eau Claire shot 36-70 (51.4 percent) on field goals overall and 5 of 13 (38.5 percent) from deep.
In the second half the Blugolds shot 22 of 37 (59.5 percent) from the floor for 53 second half points.
Bakken put together a great effort with 21 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three assists. Graaskamp also put up 21 points and five rebounds.
LaCroix knocked down three triples on her way to 11 points and tallied four assists.
The Blugolds (14-6, 6-3) are back in action at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Zorn Arena taking on UW-Oshkosh.
Follow the action this season on Blugold Game Day.