Titans begin WIAC play with win

By: Morgan Van Lanen () and Mike Johrendt ()

After trailing the entire game until the fourth quarter on Wednesday night, the UW Oshkosh women’s basketball team was able to pull out a 62-53 victory over the UW-Stevens Point Pointers.

Senior guard Taylor Schmidt, who tallied 12 points in the match against the Pointers, said she is proud of the way her team fought back late in the game to clinch the win.

“I think it says a lot about the depth of our team and what we’re going to do to be successful,” Schmidt said. “I know when we started off it wasn’t [going] well, but we kept battling and battling until they couldn’t fight back.”

The game started slow for the Titans, who trailed two to seven with 6:55 remaining in the first quarter. UWO called a timeout and the Pointers responded with a layup from junior Taylor Barrett to make the score 2-9.

Oshkosh pulled within five with a layup from junior forward Eliza Campbell at the 5:57 minute mark. 80 seconds later, Eliza tallied another two from the free throw line.

Barrett sank a basket with 2:44 left in the first quarter to make the score 15-6, Pointers. The junior center added another three with 1:32 remaining and UWO responded with another timeout.

The Titans ended the first quarter shooting 2-13 from the field and 0-3 from the three-point range. Two of their points came from the free throw line, where they went 2-2.

Head Coach Brad Fischer said his team was able to overcome their poor shooting performance early on by not depending on the three-point shot.

“We thought we would get a lot cleaner looks, but they contested the line really well,” Fischer said. “It was good that we did not have to rely on knocking down threes, so we did a good job staying disciplined. I was happy that we were able to get to the free throw line as much as we did. Our 22 free throws to their seven is something that we would love to have every night.”

Senior forward Alex Richard put the Titans on the board first in the second quarter with a two-point shot. However, the Pointers countered immediately with a three-pointer from junior guard Mickey Roland to make the score 8-20.

Schmidt sank a three-pointer with 8:50 remaining to pull UWO within seven. However, an offensive turnover by the Titans led to an Autumn Hennes two-pointer with 7:48 left in the second quarter.

Richard drove to the basket and tossed up another pair of points to inch the Titans within six.

Eliza committed a foul which led to another point from Barrett at the free throw line. Eliza then responded with two of her own points to pull the Titans within four.

After being fouled with 5:09 remaining until half, Eliza added another two points to her team’s score to make it a four-point game. A three-pointer with 4:11 left pulled the Titans within one.

Hennes added the last two points of the half, making the score 29-24.

UWO entered halftime shooting 9-25 from the field and 2-6 from the three-point line. They were perfect from the free throw line at 4-4.

Fischer said being down at halftime gave his team the fire they needed to come back hot in the second half.

“I thought we were a bit stagnant offensively in the first half, so we talked about being more active,” Fischer said. “Whether it was off the dribble or ball screens, the players just kind of watched it happen. Through the third and into the fourth quarter, we had more action and movement. If Eliza was driving, instead of everyone watching her drive, there was a back-side screen, someone slipping back door or filling in behind her.”

Richard grabbed the first two points of the second half with a pass from Eliza just 25 seconds in. UWSP quickly responded with a two-pointer from Hennes.

Eliza knocked down a three-pointer 7:46 into the third quarter to pull the Titans within two, but a three-pointer from Lauren Anklam just seconds later extended the Pointer lead to five.

Emma Melotik chipped in another two points to narrow the Pointers’ lead to three. An offensive rebound from Eliza led to junior forward Taylor Dagon drawing a foul and going two-for-two from the freethrow line. With 5:08 remaining in the third, UWO trailed 33-34.

A layup from Richard pulled the Titans within three until Lexi Roland swished a three-pointer just 10 seconds later. UWO called a 30 second timeout in response.

Trailing 35-41 with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter, freshman guard Olivia Campbell added another two points to pull within four.

The Titans left the third quarter trailing by two, shooting 15-40 from the field, 3-10 from the three-point range, and 6-6 from the free throw line.

Senior guard Morgan Kokta tied the game with a two-pointer for the Titans. Richard grabbed another two points off a pass from Eliza to give UWO its first lead of the game with 8:44 left.

Junior guard Jaimee Pitt drew a foul and goes one-for-two at the free throw line to add another point to the lead with 7:53 left.

UWSP’s Hennes pulled the Pointers within one after putting up a layup with just under seven minutes.

After a hard drive to the basket, Schmidt put up two to give her team a three-point lead. The senior guard pitched in another two from the free throw line with 4:26 to go.

Sophomore guard Chloe Pustina added another point to the lead from the free throw line and a steal by Eliza lead to a Kokta lay up to make the score 51-45.

Eliza chipped in another two points on a jumper with 1:32 to go. The guard added another on a layup with 56 seconds remaining.

After being fouled, Schmidt added two to make the score 56-50. However, a three-pointer from Anklam pulled the Pointers within three.

A foul from Barrett brought Kokta to the free throw line. The senior guard extended the Titans’ lead to 58-53.

With 21 seconds remaining, UWSP called a timeout. Schmidt drew a foul and added another two points to the Titans’ score.

UWSP drew a technical foul after calling timeout with none left. Schmidt grabbed another two points from the free throw line in response.

Kokta dribbled the ball as time expired with a final score of 62-53.

The Titans finished the game shooting 21-49 from the field, 3-11 from the three-point range and 17-22 from the free throw line.

UWO travels to UW-Stout on Saturday to take on the Blue Devils at 3:00 p.m.

After giving up 17 points in the first quarter against the Pointers, Pitt said she has one main focus for practice this week in order to prepare for the next game.

“My defense, for sure,” Pitt said. “On-ball defense is something I have been focusing on and hopefully, continuing to get better with it.”