After beginning the 2019 WIAC season 1-3, the UW-Whitewater women’s basketball team fought its way back to .500 in conference with wins against No. 12 UW-Oshkosh on the road Jan. 16 and against UW-River Falls Jan. 19 at Kachel Gymnasium.
With the two conference triumphs, UW-W improves to 10-7 overall and fifth in the WIAC.
The Warhawks’ closely-contested win over the Titans gave them their second road victory of the season against a ranked opponent.
Down 11-8 after the first quarter, UW-W outscored Oshkosh 11-6 in the second to lead 19-17 going into halftime. Both teams tied each other 15-15 in the following two quarters, allowing the Warhawks to escape with a narrow 49-47 win.
UW-W’s defense held Oshkosh to just 29 percent shooting, while the Warhawks shot 41 percent.
Senior center Sarah Schumacher scored her own second chance 2-pointer to give the Warhawks a 49-43 lead late in the fourth quarter. Oshkosh answered with a three of its own to make it 49-46.
The Titans moments later made one free throw, cutting UW-W’s lead to 49-47. The Warhawks turned the ball over on their final possession, but the Titans missed their final shot.
“We still have work to do,” head coach Keri Carollo said. “Our strength is our post game, so the more we can slow the game down a little bit and get it inside is going to be a benefit for us.”
Junior guard Becky Raeder led Whitewater’s individual scoring with 15 points. Senior forward Olivia Freckmann tallied 10 points going 4/5 from the field.
The Warhawks carried their strong defense against the Titans to the Falcons, allowing River Falls just 34 points, while UW-W put up 62.
The Falcons shot just 22 percent from the floor and turned it over 23 times.
UW-W outscored its conference opponent 22-11 in the opening quarter, and built its lead for the rest of the way.
“We played together as a team,” Freckmann said. “I think we kind of struggled with that earlier in the year and it’s finally coming together with us.”
Whitewater’s lead would get as high as 32 points before the Falcons scored the final four points.
Freckmann had another solid outing with 17 points on 7/11 shooting and 11 rebounds in her fourth double-double of the year.
“[Freckmann] is a great leader, a great teammate,” Carollo said. “Her ability to just go get rebounds, that’s something that is really hard to find in women’s basketball.”
Whitewater will next take on UW-Platteville at home Jan. 23. The Warhawks are ahead of the Pioneers by one game in the WIAC standings.