Visit to WIAC champ UW-Stevens Point possible for women

Megan Theune

The No. 22 (D3hoops.com top 25 poll) women’s basketball team (20-5, 18-4 in WIAC) clinched the No. 2 seed and a bye in the WIAC tournament’s first round with an 87-64 win over UW-Superior (8-17) on Senior Night last Saturday.

The ’Hawks will host the highest remaining seed on Friday in the WIAC semifinals in the Kachel Gymnasium with tipoff set for 7 p.m.

Although expectations are high for the WIAC tournament, the ’Hawks have confidence they will still make the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid if they come up short in the WIAC.

“You want to say yes and kind of knock on wood,” captain junior guard Megan Theune said. “We’ve been ranked all year and we’ve obviously been a respected program in previous years but yeah you’d hope so unless something really funny happens.”

Although the team’s resume is  good enough to get into the NCAA tournament, the team is focused on getting an automatic bid and winning the WIAC tournament.

“Obviously we’ve played the teams before so we’ll know more about them this time around,” freshman point guard Kaitlyn Thill said. “[If] we have a bye in the first round we won’t be as tired to play three games instead of two.”

If the ’Hawks are determined to clinch a conference title, then their path assuredly will go through powerhouse UW-Stevens Point (23-2, 16-0 in WIAC).  The

’Hawks have lost to the Pointers twice this season, so they would potentially get a chance to get revenge in the title game.

“We never really played up to our caliber when we played them,” Theune said. “Practices have been great so if we go up against Point it’s going to be a great game.”

Whether they play the Pointers or not, head coach Keri Carollo acknowledges the team’s key to success is simple.

“It’s going to come down to us slowing teams down and rebounding the basketball,” Carollo said. “We need to keep our focus and take care of the ball. I’d say those three things would be really important down the stretch.”

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