Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Warhawks season comes to an end

Defending National Champions prove too much for Warhawks
Madisyn Krein
Number 10 Luden Alexander, goes for a 3 pointer.

After defeating the Hope College Flying Dutch on Friday night by a score of 72-61 the UW-Whitewater Warhawks found themselves matched up with the defending national champions and undefeated squad Transylvania Pioneers. Although the Warhakws played a gritty and competitive first half, a second half surge by the Pioneers took Transylvania to victory.

“Super proud of our team, felt like we never gave up…[I] felt like defensively we were hanging in there, but offensively I felt like their zone really disrupted what we wanted to do. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go into the basket and unfortunately, that’s what happened to us tonight,” said long-time head coach of the Warhawks Keri Carollo.

The Warhawks were up 23-22 heading into halftime with both teams playing competitive defense making it tough to score for any player on the court. But after going on a 16-4 run to open up the 2nd half, the Pioneers never looked back and are now advancing to the Final Four where they will play New York University. 

“[We] made a good run at the end of the third quarter, got us right back in the game and I thought we had a chance. Transylvania did a nice job putting the breaks on that,” said Carollo.

With 2 minutes and 31 seconds left in the third quarter, the Warhawks were down 42-29 and needed their players to hit shots to get themselves back into the game. A layup by a 5th-year senior Aleah Grundahl, got the Warhawks started, and a pair of three-pointers by junior guard Kacie Carollo brought life back into the Warhawk crowd at Kachel Gymnasium and to the Warhawks team.

By the time the third quarter ended, the Warhawks were down five points after once being down 13. But as any great team does, the Pioneers responded in the fourth quarter and kept themselves in control of the ball game. The final score of the game was 62-48 in favor of the Pioneers. 

Aleah Grundahl, senior, waits for Hope College to start the play. (Madisyn Krein)

“I appreciate and respect what these women did this year and just seeing all the fans tonight and seeing how excited everyone was tonight just really goes to show how proud our university is of our team and what we accomplished this year, said Carollo. 

The Warhawks got the luxury of playing on their home court for the entire duration of their time in the NCAA tournament. It’s something few teams get and for senior Aleah Grundahl who played her last game as a Warhawk Saturday night, it was a special moment.

“It’s something special…As time goes on, the more wins you get, I feel like the more people you get in the crowd, but at the end of the day, it’s not really about results,” Grundahl said. “The last five years, being able to play with your best friends every day and coming into the gym and be around people really care about you and the community, your families, and your coaches. It’s really just an honor to play here and play in front of a crowd that truly cares and knows about you.”

 Grundahl’s impact on the program is widely known by Warhawk fans and her ability to get in the paint, hit tough layups, and be a leader for the Warhawks will be missed. 

“Aleah, I mean, she’s the best basketball player we’ve ever had in our program. She does it all… she’s just an amazing human being. She’s happy all the time and wonderful to coach. She’s a great teammate, she’s the total package,” said Carollo. 

Fellow senior Lunden Alexander, who played a pivotal role with the Warhawks, hitting threes off the bench and playing defensive will be missed as well. 

“We couldn’t get a word out of her as a freshman. The growth for her just as a woman you know, going from a little girl or a young girl to a woman. The transformation has just been incredible… seeing the growth from her in her confidence in her game. Not even just in basketball but just in herself as a person has been something fun to watch, and I’m just proud to be a part of that, “ said Carollo.

When the Warhawks get ready to run it back next year, they will have to do it without Grundahl and Alexander, and while it’s tough to think about how they will carry on without their seniors, it’s part of college athletics. 

“Losing these two is going to be really hard. They always ask every year how are you going to replace how are you going to replace and you just don’t. We try to figure out how to fill in gaps or holes, but we’ll never replace these two,” said Carollo. 

The team for the Warhawks will look different next year, but the goal will remain the same. UW-Whitewater athletics is about pushing for greatness and winning championships. The women’s basketball team has accomplished a lot this season and will continue with the mindset of striving for excellence. 

Junior Mallory Oloffson, is defending again Hope College. (Madisyn Krein)
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About the Contributors
Matt Ellis
Matt Ellis, Women's Sports journalist
Madisyn Krein
Madisyn Krein, Assistant Multimedia Manager

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