Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Warhawks rally for win

Fifth+year+senior+forward+Aleah+Grundahl+pushing+the+rock+on+a+fastbreak+in+an+exhibition+game+against+the+Wisconsin+Badgers.
Fifth year senior forward Aleah Grundahl pushing the rock on a fastbreak in an exhibition game against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Heading south to the Land of Lincoln, UW-Whitewater women’s basketball grinded out a huge 82-80 victory over Illinois Wesleyan, spoiling their home opener on the new season in Bloomington, Illinois. After finding themselves down 27-17 in the first quarter where the Titans shot nearly 70 percent from the field, the Warhawks fought back after a physical second quarter, heading into the half down just 39-38. 

“It was really just kind of buckling down and making sure we weren’t being undisciplined,” head coach Keri Carollo said. “We kept their players in front of us and did a good job trying to contest…they have great shooters, so if you leave them open, they’re gonna knock it down.” 

Whitewater bench celebrating a made three against the Badgers earlier this season.

The spark from Whitewater was due in large part to fifth year senior Aleah Grundahl. The forward from DeForest, Wisconsin, led the Warhawks with 15 points and 6 rebounds at halftime. 

“A lot of adversity thrown at us that game,” Grundahl said. “Honestly, just sticking together and not getting in our heads knowing that we were down.” 

Despite crawling back into the game at the half, Grundahl and the Warhawks found themselves down 65-58 after three quarters, being outscored 26-20 by the Titans.  

“Once we get in the half-court, just slowing down, getting one stop, and protecting our spots on offense,” Grundahl said. “Really just converting offense to defense, staying under control and staying calm while we play.” 

With five minutes to go in the fourth quarter and down 76-67, Whitewater rallied off a huge 13-0 run after bringing in a press defense to apply pressure against Illinois Wesleyan in the closing minutes. 

Junior forward Katie Hildebrandt running the offense against Wisconsin.

“We didn’t think we could press them right away early,” Carollo said. “I wanted to hold on to it to see if we would need it in that type of a situation…after we turned them over, we did a really nice job of being patient, working to get a good shot and scoring in those situations.” 

Grundahl stuffed the stat sheet with a season-high 33 points and 12 rebounds while dishing out 5 assists amidst the comeback win against the Titans, followed by a double-double performance by junior forward Katie Hildebrandt, posting 12 points and 10 rebounds. 

The win marks the 11th straight over Illinois Wesleyan and 15th overall for Keri Carollo against Titans head coach Mia Smith, who has been with the program since the 1998-1999 season.  

“They play super physical and they’re a very competitive program,” Carollo said. “She’s won a national championship and she’s just a phenomenal coach. They’re always really athletic and scrappy. It’s very much like a conference game for us.” 

The No. 9 ranked Warhawks will look to build off the tight win going forward as conference play begins at the turn of the calendar year on the road against UW-Oshkosh, Jan. 3, 2024.

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About the Contributor
Gabe Sadoski, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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