NCAA Tournament bid clinched

Erika Marion, Assistant Sports Editor

The UW-W women’s basketball team has been nearly unstoppable as of late, winning nine of 10 games before the WIAC Tournament started.  

The Warhawks carried their momentum from the regular season and advanced to the WIAC Championship game with a tight 53-51 over No. 25 UW-La Crosse in the WIAC semifinals Feb. 22 at Kachel Gymnasium.

Junior guard Camri Conley hit the go-ahead basket to put the Warhawks in front with 3.8 seconds left to seal the thrilling win.

“It felt good to make the shot,” said Conley, who finished with seven points. “It was cool that the team and the coaches trusted me enough to have the ball in my hands. It was very reminiscent of last year’s game against Oshkosh.”

Last season, Conley pulled through for the team on a buzzer beater against UW-Oshkosh to win with a score of 54-52 in the conference opener.

The team was led by junior guard Becky Raeder who hit five 3-pointers, earning a game-high 15 points to go along with seven rebounds and two steals.

“At this point in the season, almost everything is about mental preparation,” said Raeder. “We have played Oshkosh twice already, so we know the scout and how they play like the back of our hand. They key to winning is to be mentally locked in and one step ahead of them. We are preparing by watching film and walking through their plays so we know how to defend it properly.”

The Warhawks were also led by sophomore guard Emily Schumacher with 13 points, four rebounds and two steals. Senior forward Sarah Schumacher scored nine points and corralled five rebounds.

UW-W had a 14-point lead at halftime, but let that lead slip away when the Eagles outscored them 23-5 in the third quarter.

Neither team was able to gain a huge lead in the fourth quarter. After Raeder connected on a 3-pointer with 8:05 remaining, the rest of the game remained within one basket separating the two teams.

The Warhawks ultimately were able to come out on top due to Conley’s clutch shot to seal it, along with the rest of them doing the most of what they could in the game to make sure they would make it to the championship game Sunday against rival UW-Oshkosh on the road.

“To being able to hold a good team like that to only 51 points, I am pretty proud of our team,” said Carollo. “Camri made a great read on that shot and I am really happy for her.”

The Warhawks then traveled to UW-Oshkosh to try and bring home the WIAC championship title Feb. 24, but fell short 69-40. However, it was announced the next day UW-W qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

The Warhawks will be entering the tournament for the 11th time in the past dozen years.

The first round of game play for UW-W starts March 1 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Louis, Mo. against host Washington University in St. Louis.