Inconsistent Titans show flashes of brilliance

Cory Sparks, Assistant Sports Editor

“Since the beginning of winter, UW Oshkosh women’s basketball has had a rollercoaster sequence of games. Currently possessing a 12-9 record with a 5-5 record in conference play, the Titans are fifth in the WIAC women’s basketball standings.

They are just behind UW-Stout who is also 5-5 in conference but with a 14-7 overall record.

“We have not been able to finish in games that we either have control of or have late leads in,” Bradley Fischer, head coach of the Titans said. “We haven’t been able to get it done in the final minutes of some close games and that’s definitely been reflected to this point in our record.” This inconsistent play has come with an underwhelming amount of growth as the team enters the fifth and final portion of their regular season.

The stagnant growth can be attributed to the team’s lack of defense in certain performances, as they’ve allowed other teams to shoot at 30.2% from beyond the arc this year, third worst in the WIAC.

When the Titans have been able to shut the other team down, they’ve been nearly unbeatable. The team is a perfect 11-0 when they allow 60 points or less, but that does leave the other 10 games where they have had to play keep up in high scoring affairs.

One of these wins came in a crucial match-up against UW-Whitewater, where the Titans snapped the nationally ranked Warhawks’ 14-game winning streak in a 62-51 upset on Jan. 25. “I do think we’ve improved defensively marginally as the years have gone on, but we haven’t been [able] to get big stops late in the game when we have leads and I think our record reflects that inconsistency.”

Fischer said. On the opposite end of the floor, UWO has had some electric outings. This team leads the WIAC in three-point shooting percentage, shooting 33% from behind the arc. This trait carried the Titans to their most recent win against nationally ranked UW-La Crosse, where they shot a season-best 54.5% from behind the three-point line with 12 of 22 shooting.

A large portion of the successful three point shooting efforts from the Titans can be attributed to junior starting guard Leah Porath, who has shot 45.5% from beyond three point range. Porath also averages a WIAC leading 17.1 points per game, more than one point greater than any other player.

“Offensively, she’s bailed us out of dead possessions where we didn’t have a lot going,” said Fischer. “We’ve got to continue to try and find ways to get her open and be able to get her some easier baskets, so she’s not always having to create on her own.”

Oshkosh has four regular season games remaining, all against conference teams. Depending on how the bouts against UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Whitewater and UW-River Falls go, the Titans could mathematically rise all the way up to the No. 2 spot in the WIAC standings. For this to happen, Oshkosh would need to run the table and get some help along the side for their hypothetical 9-5 record to earn them such a high ranking.

As for how possible that feat is, this team has shown through upsets against UWW and UWL that they can hang with just anybody. However, whether they can consistently show up and take over a game is what remains to be seen as the team approaches the home stretch of regular season competition.”