Women’s hoops stunned by home loss to rivals

Becky+Raeder+%28Left%29+scrambles+for+the+loose+ball+in+the+semifinal+loss+to+UW-Oshkosh.+She+finished+with+five+points+and+two+assists+in+what+could+be+her+last+home+game+in+Warhawk+colors.+

Dane Sheehan

Becky Raeder (Left) scrambles for the loose ball in the semifinal loss to UW-Oshkosh. She finished with five points and two assists in what could be her last home game in Warhawk colors.

Ethan Maurice, Sports Editor

The Whitewater women’s basketball team lost in the second round of the WIAC tournament on Thursday, Feb. 27 to eventual champion UW-Oshkosh. The game was tight in the first quarter, but got away from the Warhawks in the second period and they could not find their way back into it. The final score was 65-81.

This means that the No. 4 ranked Warhawks do not qualify for the Division III national tournament as an automatic qualifier, but rather an At-Large bid. They await Monday’s announcement of the tournament bracket to see who they will face.

The game was the rubber match between the two rivals this season, after both teams split the season series. Oshkosh won the first contest, and Whitewater avenged  that defeat in the last week of the regular season. Their conference tournament match-up held more importance for the Titans, who were playing to keep their season alive, and couldn’t expect to earn an automatic bid to the national tournament.

The Warhawks came out shooting, but Oshkosh matched their offensive intensity, hitting five threes in the first quarter. The Warhawk’s offense took a tailspin in the second quarter where things turned ugly.

“We stopped playing defense. They were shooting lights out from 3, and we weren’t adjusting.” said senior Becky Raeder. The score at halftime was 35-48 Oshkosh, which meant the comeback could’ve been on.

“We played selfish. There were five people on the court, but we weren’t playing together, we played 1-on-1,” said Raeder.

Her team couldn’t hit a shot coming out of halftime, and gave up a 7-0 run before they got on the board in the second half.

It’s not the first time the two squads have had to deal with blowouts in the conference tourney, according to Oshkosh head coach Brad Fischer.

“Two years ago they beat us where they kinda blew us out, so both teams have seen it before,” he said in a post-game interview. “They had a bad quarter, and it just kind of snowballed them.”

While the score was certainly unexpected, Fischer attributed it to the fact that Oshkosh was in a rhythm, after beating up on UW-Stout earlier in the week.

“I think having the bye sometimes hurts, because you’re a little bit rusty after sitting. We got to play Tuesday, and in some ways that’s a little advantage for us,” he said.

The Warhawks expect to qualify for the National Tournament on Monday, where they find out who they could face. They are anxious to get on with the season, and move on from this loss.

“You can’t let one game define you,” said Raeder. “There’s so much more that can still happen this season.”

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