Women’s basketball finishes second in conference

Michael Johrendt

The 15th ranked UW Oshkosh women’s basketball team lost to UW-River Falls 56-63 on Saturday, Feb. 20. The Titans finished their season with a 20-5 overall record and an 11-3 conference record that warranted a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Junior guard Taylor Schmidt, who led the team with 17 points, two rebounds and three assists in Saturday’s game, said her team is getting excited for the post-season to start. “I think the playoffs provide extra motivation,” Schmidt said. “At this point, you have to think you are at the point where, if you lose, your season is done so you have to play with that mentality.” Sophomore forward Eliza Campbell, who contributed 13 points and four rebounds against the Falcons, said while the goal was getting first place, taking second gives the team even more motivation. “Second place definitely was not what we wanted, but we can’t let that hold us back,” Campbell said. “We all know we have a lot more we can accomplish so it is time to move on and get back on a winning streak.” Oshkosh shot 33.8 percent from the field and committed nine turnovers against River Falls. They had more bench points, assists and points off turnovers than UWRF did. Their 17 offensive rebounds led to 10 second-chance points. This is the Titans third consecutive second-place finish. Coach Brad Fischer said this gives the team a sense of motivation for the playoff tournament. “Our goal is to always be the best version of ourselves when the conference tournament starts,” Fischer said. “We talk about trying to get better as the season goes on, so that when we get to this point [the playoffs] we are playing our best.” Up next for the Titans, after their bye, is a semifinal game in the WIAC tournament. The winner of the postseason tournament secures an automatic bid into the NCAA DIII tournament. Fischer said that with the allotment of teams in the conference, a bye is huge in helping the players by providing them with an extra day of rest. “This season has been a grind,” Fischer said, “We don’t have byes anymore now that we are down to eight teams, so it has been seven straight weeks of every Wednesday and Saturday having to play, so we don’t really get a time to rest at all.” To conclude the season, the Titans held a 9-2 record both at home and away games. They won twice and lost once at neutral sites. On the season, they averaged 65.6 points, 35 rebounds and 13 assists per game. Fischer said that with the extra time off, the team can focus on fundamentals and make sure it is at peak playing performance. “Even the extra day here just to [kind of] reset and take a breath to prepare is huge,” Fischer said. “If you can just get a bye, with as good as our league has been this year, if you can just avoid playing that one extra game, that eliminates that one opportunity for another tough matchup, another physical matchup, so we are hoping to use it to our advantage.”