Defense paces War hawks undefeated start

Jack Miller, Assistant Sports Editor

The No. 20 UW-Whitewater women’s basketball team is finding just about every way to win games to being its season.

The Warhawks pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 75-64 victory over Elmhurst College (IL) in their season opener Nov. 15 in a non-conference road match. The next two games were played at Kachel Gymnasium, and consisted of a 77-33 blowout win against Beloit College Nov. 18 and a 62-60 victory versus No. 25 Illinois Wesleyan Nov. 21.

It was neck and neck through the first three quarters in the opener, as UW-W led Elmhurst 58-55 heading into the fourth. To begin the final quarter however, the Warhawks went on a 15-2 run to blossom their lead to 73-58.

“We stopped putting them at the free throw line and limited them to one shot (on offense),” head coach Keri Carollo said regarding her team’s play in the fourth quarter. “We sat down and started to play good defense, and that made the difference.”

The first game of the year was the Warhawks’ best offensive performance to date, shooting 50.8 percent from the field. Senior guard Brooke Trewyn scored 20 of her 22 points in the first half. She also snatched 13 rebounds and three steals.

“I guess they were giving me the lane and I took advantage of that,” Trewyn said. “I wasn’t really hitting from outside, so I worked out of the post. The second half was a different story, but I’m glad we got the win.”

Senior forward Andrea Meinert and sophomore guard Camri Conley both added 16 points. Sophomore guard Becky Raeder also dabbled into double-digits with 11 points.

The Warhawks put on a defensive clinic against Beloit College in their second contest. The defense forced 38 turnovers, collected 23 steals and held the Buccaneers to a 32.5 shooting percentage (13-40). With just over two minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Warhawks led 32-4, essentially putting the game away before halftime.

“Our focus was to make sure we were much more disciplined defensively,” Carollo said. “In our last game we had a whole bunch of fouls (27) and we were just really hands on. We knew they were going to dribble a lot, so we really tried to keep our hands off and just play position.”

The Warhawks implemented a balanced offensive attack against Buccaneers. Trewyn posted team-highs in points and steals, with 10 and four, respectively. Senior guard Malia Smith, sophomore forward Morgan Rosencrants and Raeder all added nine points and recorded at least two steals.

Seventeen of the Warhawks’ 32 made field goals came from assists, which was a season-high.

“They were pressuring us a lot,” Raeder said. “We had to use that to our advantage, fake the ball, back cut on them to get movement towards the basket.”

In the third game of the year, the Warhawks were plagued by foul trouble throughout the game, but squeaked out a two-point triumph. Starters Conley and Trewyn both fouled out, while Smith ended the contest with four fouls.

“I would of liked to see us execute a little bit better down the stretch and hit a couple of those wide open shots, and obviously make free throws,” Carollo said. “The great thing is that we were put in a really difficult situation with having some of our starters on the bench. We had other players come in and play a big role, it was nice to see that we were still able to figure out how to win.”

It looked as if the Warhawks were going to take command early in the fourth after junior center Becky Deichl converted a layup to give the team their largest lead of the game at 53-42. The Titans got as close as 60-58, but Meinert hit two free throws for the Warhawks to put them up four with nine seconds left. The Titans made a layup as time expired.

“When they were making a run, we all banded together, and I think that’s the sign of a really good team,” Deichl said. “When we go down we don’t spread apart, we get stronger as a core, so I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Camri netted a team-high 15 points to go along with five rebounds. Deichl finished with 11 points and added six boards. Meinert finished the game one bucket away from a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.

The Warhawks will be back in action against Augustana College (IL) Nov.30 at Kachel Gymnasium.