Women’s Basketball: Stewart scores career-high 18, ‘Hawks now 10-0 in WIAC play

 

Jan. 29

By Kevin Cunningham

An 11-0 run to end the first half propelled the UW-Whitewater women’s basketball team to a 72-45 victory over the UW-Platteville Pioneers Wednesday night to move to 16-3 overall and 10-0 in WIAC play.

The Warhawks led at the half 38-22 after their run and the second half was controlled by two players who haven’t been known to be difference makers to this point in their careers. Freshman backup point guard Reilly Stewart recorded a career high 18 points, 13 of which coming after the break.

Sophomore guard Abbie Reeves averaged 9.5 points per game entering the contest and by the end of the half was held scoreless, shooting only one time and missing her lone attempt.

“If I don’t shoot, I don’t play,” Reeves said.

In the second half, the ’Hawks’ top 3-point shooter from a shots made and shots attempted standpoint came out firing. Reeves made four of her nine attempts from the field in her nine minutes of action in the second half, including two 3-pointers.

Reeves said the emergence of Kristen Ruchti, a 6-foot-2 senior center has allowed shooters to get more open looks. Ruchti, who has now appeared in five games for the Warhawks basketball team, was last seen competing on the volleyball court for UW-Whitewater.

“Our post play is pretty strong, so we knew that our shooters were going to have to come in ready to shoot because they were going to protect the paint,” head coach Keri Carollo said. “So at halftime, we talked about that and said be ready to shoot. These guys [Stewart and Reeves] knocked them down.”

The ’Hawks have often out-shot its opponents from the 3-point line all season and this game against the Pioneers was no different. The team made 10 of its 30 attempts from behind the arc, compared to the Pioneers’ 1-15.

Carollo’s club also out-rebounded the Pioneers 53-47 and forced its opposition into 17 turnovers. Carollo said the defense has come a long way since the beginning of the year and knows they still have a long way to go.

The 45 points the Warhawks surrendered marked a season-low for the team and the ’Hawks have allowed two teams in its past nine games to score over 68 points.

The 27-point victory wasn’t the only thing Carollo celebrated Wednesday night, as All-Americans were recognized from multiple sports during halftime. Carollo got to go out at midcourt with Cortney Kumerow, the team’s All-American center during last season’s school-best national runner-up finish.

At 10-0 in WIAC play, the Warhawks remain in sole possession of the lead atop the conference, two games ahead of the UW-Oshkosh Titans at 8-2. The Titans also played Wednesday night at home, but fell to UW-La Crosse in double overtime, 85-80.

With a two-game lead in the WIAC standings, if the Warhawks were to lose its lone remaining game against the Titans, the team still would be able to control its own destiny. Next up for the ’Hawks are the UW-Stout Blue Devils, who are 7-12 overall and 3-7 in WIAC play.

Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. on Feb. 1 in Menomonie, Wis.

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