Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

UWO women conclude season with Senior Night victory

The four Titan players, with their families, being honored on Senior Night (from left): forward Madeline Staples, guard Morgan Kokta, forward Alex Richard and guard Taylor Schmidt.
[/media-credit] The four Titan players, with their families, being honored on Senior Night (from left): forward Madeline Staples, guard Morgan Kokta, forward Alex Richard and guard Taylor Schmidt.

The UW Oshkosh women’s basketball team continued its strong season by winning at home against UW-Stout for Senior Night, 71-53. This win secured a 23-2 record this year, including a nine-game conference winning streak to end the season.

This marked the second consecutive year the women were victorious on Senior Night, something head coach Brad Fischer said speaks to the dedication of the team to finish what they start.

“You want to finish it the right way for them, especially with the careers that they have had,” Fischer said. “So it is a good way for us to celebrate and we were excited. We really wanted to finish the regular season off the right way and make sure we did not fall into a lull because we had already clinched everything.”

Out of the gates, the Titans used an offensive onslaught to jump out to a 17-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Senior forward Eliza Campbell contributed seven of her game-high 13 points in the first quarter on a perfect three-of-three shooting performance from the field.

Defensively, UWO held the Blue Devils to a meager five points in the first quarter on only two made baskets. UW-Stout only shot 12.5 percent on 16 shots, while Oshkosh translated their 10 made shots into 22 points on 18 shots.

Sophomore forward Isabella Samuels chipped in six points on a perfect shooting performance in the first, making all three shots just as Campbell did. Samuels contributed eight points in the game on 16 minutes off the bench.

The second quarter led to more of the same for the Titans, despite scoring four fewer points. Fourteen of the 16 players on Oshkosh’s roster earned minutes in the second period, with senior guard Taylor Schmidt leading the offensive barrage with seven points.

Schmidt, junior guard Emma Melotik and senior guard Morgan Kokta combined for 12 of Oshkosh’s 18 second quarter points. The three guards continued the perfect shooting of the squad by going five-of-five from the field, including two shots from behind the arc.

The Titans again outshot the Blue Devils, with Oshkosh shooting 35 percent more efficiently than Stout and making three shots from beyond the arc, compared to none for their opponents. UWO’s bench continued its consistent ways, contributing six points in this quarter alone.

In four second-quarter minutes, junior guard Jaimee Pitt knocked down a three for her only points of the quarter. Sophomore guard Chloe Pustina chipped in two points on a field goal and junior forward Taylor Dagon connected on a shot from the charity stripe to help the cause.

Going into halftime, the Titans held a 40-17 lead over UW-Stout. Schmidt poured in all of her nine points in the first half and Campbell contributed seven of her team-leading 13 points in the first half of the game.

Assistant coach Kelly McNiff said being able to carry over momentum is something the team has focused on throughout the season, and something they pride themselves on.

“I think it was huge,” McNiff said. “It was momentum for us going into the playoffs. It is sending out four very decorated players out on the right note. We lost on Senior Night a few years ago and it was not a good feeling at all. Momentum alone is very important.”

Coming out of the break, UWO remained consistent in the scoring department, again putting 18 points on the board in the third quarter. The Titans’ bench carried the team in the third, with only two points coming from a starter.

Freshman guard Kylie Moe contributed nine of her 12 points in the quarter on three-of-three shooting. The 3-point shot was falling for Moe, as she knocked down three from behind the line in this quarter.

Senior forward Madeline Staples scored seven points on three field goals and one made free throw in the third quarter, helping Moe pace the bench production in the quarter. She also contributed one rebound and one steal in six minutes in the quarter.

Going into the fourth quarter, UWO held a 58-34 lead, paving the way for the bench to finish the game due to the large lead the team held. Everyone on the team earned minutes in this quarter for UWO.

The fourth quarter was the Titans’ lowest scoring quarter of the contest, as the team only got five shots to go for 13 total points. Off the bench, Samuels and sophomore forward Melanie Schneider contributed two points each, both playing three minutes and going one-for-two from the field.

For the starters, Campbell had four points on two-of-five shooting and three rebounds, including one on the offensive end of the floor. Senior forward Alex Richard was the only other starter in the scoring column in the fourth quarter, knocking down one shot from the field and making all three attempted free throws on her way to five points in the quarter.

The game against UW-Stout concluded Fischer’s fifth regular season as head coach, and it marked the fifth consecutive year the Titans won at least 20 games in a season. Richard said this mark should not go unnoticed, and that it speaks volumes about the program’s integrity.

“It just shows everyone that we are a good program and that we are not just a fluke every year,” Richard said. “We are good and we will keep bringing out good teams.”

Looking ahead to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoff tournament, UWO must wait until Wednesday to find out who their opponent will be for the semi-final game it will be hosting this week Friday. The team earned a bye by winning the WIAC regular season title this year and were given the top seed in the tournament.

Fischer said being able to play the conference playoffs at home affords the team an advantage to play where they have been very successful.

“Any time that you can not have to travel is important, [as] in the history of our tournament the last couple years, it says that the one-seed does not win it,” Fischer said. “We need to buck a trend there a little bit, [and] I think that has happened because teams win it and relax a little bit. We need to make sure that we keep our edge and make sure that this is the second season for us, this is a new year. Hopefully we have the right mindset, but making teams get on a bus and come over here and having to go through traveling to play at our place is a big advantage.”

Oshkosh hosts UW-River Falls, the lowest of the remaining seeds after the two first-round games of the WIAC tournament. The game will be Friday at 7 p.m. and if UWO wins, they will again host the championship contest on Sunday afternoon, with the winner earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament.

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