Titans fall short, Samuels to third team

The UW Oshkosh women’s basketball team season concludes after loss to Wartburg College in the third round of the NCAA tournament

Ally Gwidt, Assistant Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh women’s basketball team concludes its season after a 70-57 loss to Wartburg College (Iowa) in the Sectional Semifinals of the NCAA Division III Championship on Friday in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Titans, who entered Friday’s contest ranked 13th in the nation by d3hoops.com, were led by sophomore guard Leah Porath with a game-high, 18-point scoring effort off the bench.

Porath went eight-for-12 from the field while gathering four rebounds in 29 minutes of action.

Wartburg College closed out the first quarter with nine unanswered points for a 20-11 lead heading into the second quarter.

The Titans brought the score to 49-44 in the second, but the Knights only extended their lead in the final half by outscoring UWO 33-27 to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA D-III Championship.

Senior forward Melanie Schneider posted UWO’s only other double-digit scoring effort with 12 points, four rebounds and a block in 27 minutes of play.

Schneider went from averaging 0.3 points per game her freshman year to averaging 8.9 points per game in her final season.

Schneider said her accomplished four years with the Titans is due to the expectation of hard work every day.

“It is hard to see this journey come to an end, but I would not trade my time with this team for anything,” Schneider said. “Our program had been so successful because we are coached to trust the process and to come every day and work hard for one another. This program has emphasized the meaning of diligence in and outside of the gym.”

UWO was without junior guard and starter Olivia Campbell, who is a key component to the Titans’ nationally ranked defense, due to an injury obtained in the second round of the NCAA D-III Championship.

Head coach Brad Fischer said the Titans were not prepared to head into the third round without Campbell. “Olivia is our motor out on the floor defensively,” Fischer said. “Defense is how we win games and it [was hard to be] without her.”

The Knights, who rank 11th in the country by d3hoops.com, wield an explosive offense that ranks first in the nation in assists per game with 19.1, fourth in field goal percentage with .479 and 15th in scoring with 77.1 points per game.

Wartburg College maintains an overall record of 27-4 after their victory over the Titans; Each of the Knight’s 27 wins this season have been by at least 11 points.

UWO completed its season with an overall record of 26-4 to claim the Wisconsin Intercollegiawte Athletic Conference regular season tournament champion title. This past year marked the Titans eighth trip to the Sweet Sixteen and third in the past six seasons en route to their seventh straight season of winning at least 20 games. UWO also produced a school-record 199 made 3-pointers this year.

UW Oshkosh senior center Isabella Samuels was named to the NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball All-Central Region Third Team by d3hoops.com on Monday.

Samuels captained the Titans this season with a team-leading 9.8 points per game while producing an .691 overall field goal percentage, which ranks second in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history.

Samuels, who earned her first all-region honor, had 13 double-digit scoring performances this season, including a career-high 23 points on 80 percent shooting from the field against UW-Whitewater on Feb. 4.

In a nine-game stretch during the latter of the season, Samuels averaged 13.9 points per contest and shot 55-for-68 from the field for an .809 overall field goal percentage to help clinch the WIAC regular and postseason championship and the Oshkosh Regional, which hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA D-III Championship.

Samuels concluded her career with 750 points in 110 games. Her career .635 field goal percentage ranks third among all active D-III women’s players.

UWO totaled an overall record of 96-20 during Samuels’ four season alongside two conference regular season titles, a pair of league tournament championships and three trips to the NCAA D-III postseason.