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

A Shot at Glory

Kendell Truttman shoots a free throw to break a tie in the first quarter against DePauw.
[/media-credit] Kendell Truttman shoots a free throw to break a tie in the first quarter against DePauw.
Guard Taylor Schmidt elevates for a layup in the First Round game against Calvin.
[/media-credit] Guard Taylor Schmidt elevates for a layup in the First Round game against Calvin.

For the first time in three seasons, the UW Oshkosh women’s basketball team earned a bid to the Sweet Sixteen after winning two games this past weekend. Moving on to the third round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association post-season tournament, the Titans are the only remaining Division III team from Wisconsin left in the tournament.

In the contest that sent UWO to their seventh Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history, Oshkosh faced off against a team that had given them one of its three losses in the regular season, DePauw University (Ind.). The Tigers, albeit ranked higher than the Titans according to, posted its second-lowest scoring performance of the season on Saturday.

Advancing to the Sweet Sixteen is something Head Coach Brad Fischer said the team planned for since early on.

“It is one of the goals we have talked about and set, because we had done it when they were freshman,” Fischer said. “So for us to get back now and get that feeling back, I am just really proud of our kids and extremely happy that they get to experience this again, especially the senior group, who has done so much for us and our program.”

The Titans handed DePauw its largest margin of deficit in the second round of the NCAA tournament, while avenging its 60-56 defeat earlier in the year while in Puerto Rico. Oshkosh put up 64 points in the victory, one more than in the first-round victory over Calvin College (Mich.).

Second-Round Matchup

In the game, Oshkosh had two players record double-digit scoring performances, with senior guard Taylor Schmidt scoring 10 points and junior forward Eliza Campbell leading the Titans with 12 points. Both Schmidt and Campbell shot well in the contest; Schmidt went four-of-nine from the field and made her only 3-pointer, and Campbell shot a near perfect five-of-seven and made both of her shots from behind the arc.

In the first quarter, both teams shot the ball well, as the Tigers put up a 35.7 percent shooting percentage while Oshkosh shot 41.2 percent from the field. UWO was able to hold a 19-14 advantage after the first 10 minutes due to the difference in shooting from beyond the arc, as the two-of-five shooting was better than DePauw’s dreadful one-of-seven from three.

Senior guard Morgan Kokta, freshman guard Kylie Moe and junior guard Emma Melotik all attempted three-point shots in the quarter, with Moe connecting on both of her attempts. Moe led the team with six points in the quarter, with Schmidt going two-of-four from the field for five points and Melotik connecting on two of her three shots on her way to four points in the quarter.

Other contributions from the starting unit in the first period came from Campbell, who had two points on a lone field goal and recorded three defensive rebounds. Off the bench, junior guard Kendall Truttman knocked down both shots from the charity stripe and chipped in a re bound of her own.

The second quarter seemed to be the deciding factor in the game, as Oshkosh distanced itself from the Tigers. The Titans went on a 19-5 run in the quarter, setting the score at 38-19 going into half and making the deficit insurmountable for DePauw.

In this period, it was Campbell who led the scoring attack with seven points on three-of-four shooting, including knocking down her only 3-pointer of the quarter. Schmidt and Melotik both chipped in two points each on a combined two-of-four shooting.

Defensively, Richard cleaned the glass, bringing down six total rebounds in the quarter. In eight minutes, she did not take a shot but limited second-chance opportunities for the Tigers.

Off the bench, senior forward Madeline Staples was efficient in four minutes, connecting on both of her field goals for four points and recording a block. Truttman earned two points, and freshman guard Olivia Campbell recorded two points and two rebounds in three minutes of action.

Oshkosh was shooting the ball well, as the team field goal percentage rose to 56.3 percent, with the team going nine-of-sixteen from the field.

Alex Richard grabs a rebound in the Titan’s 64-49 victory over DePauw, she finished with 11 rebounds. Richard is eighth in the WIAC conference in rebounds per game with 6.3.
[/media-credit] Alex Richard grabs a rebound in the Titan’s 64-49 victory over DePauw, she finished with 11 rebounds. Richard is eighth in the WIAC conference in rebounds per game with 6.3.
Junior forward Eliza Campbell looks to make a pass against the Calvin College Knights. Campbell recorded 15 points.
[/media-credit] Junior forward Eliza Campbell looks to make a pass against the Calvin College Knights. Campbell recorded 15 points.

Second Half

Coming out of halftime, UWO put up 14 points in the third quarter, four points less than what DePauw managed. The team cooled down in the shooting department, only going six-of-fourteen from the field.

Of the 14 shots taken in the period, starters took ten and made half. Kokta led the Titans in the third with five points on two-of-two shooting, including draining a shot from behind the arc.

Richard turned her attention to the offensive end, scoring four points. Eliza Campbell knocked down another 3-pointer and recorded three defensive rebounds.
Five reserves played minutes in the third for Oshkosh, with Olivia Campbell being the only one to score. She splashed the only field goal she attempted in two minutes.

Going into the fourth, UWO held a 52-37 lead. Both teams put up 12 points in the quarter, keeping the deficit at 15 to end the contest.

Five Titans scored in the quarter, with Schmidt and Melotik each recording three points. They both knocked down a field goal and each hit a shot from the charity stripe.

Ten rebounds were brought down by the team in the fourth, led by Staples, Richard and Schmidt with two apiece. Other scoring came via Richards, Kokta and sophomore forward Isabella Samuels, who all had two points.

The team shot 35.7 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three, the lowest shooting percentage in the game for Oshkosh. In this quarter, however, UWO had a better shooting percentage than DePauw had in the entire game.

Twenty of the team’s 64 points came from the bench, as ten members from the reserve unit contributed. Moe, in her bench-leading 16 minutes, led the reserves with six points.

Other bench contributions came from Olivia Campbell, Truttman and Staples, with four apiece, and Samuels with two.

The win pushed UWO to their first Sweet Sixteen appearance in three years, something Fischer said speaks volumes about the team.

“It has been a couple of years since we have gotten this far in the tournament,” Fischer said. “The Sweet Sixteen is a big landmark for a basketball program. To get through this first weekend, everything feels like gravy.”

First-Round Matchup

In the first-round contest, the Titans hosted the Calvin College Knights to open the tournament Friday. Oshkosh again used an offensive run in the second quarter to keep the Knights at bay and hold on to win, 63-55.

Both teams got out to hot starts, each putting up 17 points in the first 10 minutes. Oshkosh shot 43.8 percent from the field on 16 attempts, while Calvin went four-of-eleven.

Seven of UWO’s 16 shots were from behind the arc, with three made. Melotik splashed both of her shots, and Truttman knocked down her only shot of the quarter.

Melotik led the team with six points in six minutes, while Samuels knocked down both of her shots for four points. Truttman’s three and Staples’ two points helped support the 17-point outpouring.

In the second quarter, Oshkosh held the Knights to single digits, only putting up nine points. In eight minutes Eliza Campbell put up seven points and two assists.
Melotik hit a three, and Richard provided two points and two rebounds, one on each end. Even though Schmidt and Kokta did not score, they both had substantial contributions.

Schmidt chipped in two assists, and Kokta provided a rebound, an assist and steal in six minutes. From the bench, sophomore guard Chloe Pustina made one of two shots in the quarter and had two points in three minutes of work.

Going into half, the Titans held a 31-26 lead. Oshkosh was efficient in the second quarter, with 11 shots taken and five made, making for a 45.5 shooting percentage mark.

Being able to capitalize on offense was important for the team, something Fischer said helped the team remain well-rounded.

“We did a great job of finding Emma [Melotik] when she was feeling good, and we executed to get some really good looks,” Fischer said. “Early, I thought we had some possessions where we forced a couple in a row and kind of got out of rhythm a little bit. I thought we did a better job as the game went on, and we did a really good job of getting post touches between Izzy [Isabella Samuels] and Alex [Richard]. I thought we had a really good combination of in and out.”

Coming out of half

The third quarter was more of the same for Oshkosh, as the team again put up 17 points. Melotik added to the cause, hitting two more 3-pointers in the quarter.

Schmidt doled out three assists and two points, and Richard rounded out the scoring for the starters with four points and a rebound.

The team managed to earn two offensive rebounds in the quarter and eight overall in the game, something Fischer said aided the team in terms of earning a second shot clock.

“We had a multi-possession [offensive rebound] and then we picked one up off the floor on a loose ball for a lay-up, and that is what NCAA tournament games are like,” Fischer said. “One possession, one loose ball, one something that you need to make a play. Fortunately, we had a hand-full of those big [rebounds] in that stretch, late in the third quarter.”

Olivia Campbell helped pace bench production in the third, knocking down a three in two minutes of gameplay. Samuels put in her only shot of the quarter, with a non-scoring contribution coming from Truttman to the tune of the other offensive rebound.

The fourth quarter was the only quarter in which Calvin outscored Oshkosh. The 16-15 advantage held by the Knights kept the contest close until the buzzer, putting pressure on the Titans until the end.

Defensive schemes were employed by the Knights in the fourth, forcing the Titans to focus on ball security. Fischer said although there were moments of improvement, the team handled the schemes well.

“At the end, I think it was not great, but I thought in general, we did a good job for the first 37 minutes of handling that,” Fischer said. “I thought that there were some possessions there late when we got rushed and got a little panicky against their half-court trap, but all in all, 14 turnovers against a team that good and playing desperate, we can live with that.”

Eliza Campbell led the squad with eight points on a perfect two-of-two shooting, including knocking down all four of her free throws. Richard was the other member of the starting unit to score, putting up four points and three rebounds, including two offensive boards.

Being able to keep a consistent presence in the rebounding area is an aspect Melotik said the team has emphasized down the stretch.

“I think offensive rebounding is something we have been trying to put an emphasis on lately,” Melotik said. “It has not been one of our strengths of the season, but we have really been talking about it lately, and I think that is one of the reasons why I think we got the results that we did tonight because we did get that second shot clock, we did get those second chance points.”

The only other Titan to score in the fourth was Moe, who knocked down one of her two 3-pointers. Moe also grabbed a defensive rebound in four minutes of work.

Post-Game Reactions

Having the determination to keep advancing in the tournament is something Richard said the team displayed in the first two tournament games.

“I think it was one of our best games, offensively, just because I think we had so much adrenaline, and we wanted to win because we have lost to them,” Richard said.
“I feel like we are such an experienced team, we know where we want to go and that we know what we have to do to get there, so I think that is what we needed.”

UWO held an advantage in shooting, 3-point and free throw percentage, assists, less turnovers, points off turnovers, points in the paint and bench points. Fischer said while the team had positive and negative moments in the contest, the general consensus was the performance of the team was something to be proud of.

“We knew it was going to be a war to rebound; they are a great rebounding team,” Fischer said. “There are not a lot of opportunities there, so when they are there, we have to get them. We did not take good care of the ball there for a stretch, but I thought we had really good balance, and I think the scoresheet probably shows it.”

Looking Ahead

The team’s Sweet Sixteen matchup is against the Washington University Bears in St. Louis. The Bears earned a 25-2 record, including a 12-2 conference record.

There are few comparable areas between Oshkosh and Washington University, although there is a common opponent: DePauw University. Oshkosh, having avenged a loss with a victory in the second round of the tournament, faired well against the Tigers, with WashU beating DePauw by 12.

Both the coaching staff and the players understand that come tournament time, the stakes are raised and motivation must be carried throughout every game, something Fischer said the team will need to do in order to keep advancing.

“I thought tonight was one of the best versions of us that we have had all year,” Fischer said. “I do not know that we will ever be the cleanest-looking team offensively because we do try and limit turnovers, we try not to take a lot of chances, so we do not have a ton of flashy plays. We just try to be solid. I hope this is something that we can take the next step with this week.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Advance-Titan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest