Women’s basketball advances in WIAC tournament


Jacob Link / the Advance-Titan — UWO’s Ava Douglas looks to pass the ball in Oshkosh’s 57-54 win over UWL in the WIAC tournament Feb. 21.

Jacob Link, Co-Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (WIAC) tournament after taking down the UW-La Crosse Eagles 57-54 at the Kolf Sports Center Feb. 21.

UWO’s Kayce Vaile scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Jenna Jorgensen added 14 points and six rebounds for the Titans. Guard Kate Huml scored 11 points and Sarah Hardwick finished with seven points. Oshkosh finished the night shooting just 36.7% from the floor but outshot UWL from the foul line 89.5% to 77.8%.

Jorgensen said the team was able to secure the victory thanks to the team’s defensive effort at the end of the game.

“It came down to the wire obviously and I think we just wanted it more in the end,” Jorgensen said. “You could tell defensively that we were tired, but we did everything we could to get the last shot, the last possession and the last stop.”

For the Eagles, Alana Gilles led the team with 12 points and six rebounds while Paige Schumann added nine points. The La Crosse bench outscored UWO’s bench 13-0 and the Eagles shot just 20% from behind the arc.

Vaile hit a 3-pointer to start the first quarter and the Titans began the game on a 7-3 run. The teams traded baskets for most of the opening period until Huml converted on a layup, which kickstarted a 6-0 run that saw Oshkosh take a 17-10 lead. A string of UWL baskets brought the Eagles to within one point, but UWO’s Ava Douglas made two free throws and the Titans ended the first quarter leading 19-16.

After Jorgensen hit a 3-pointer with seven minutes to go in the second quarter, UWL made three-straight baskets to take a two-point lead. Oshkosh would tie the game at 24, but with 36 seconds left in the half, UWL’s Grace Cote nailed a 3-pointer and the Eagles went into the locker room up 29-24.

La Crosse opened the scoring in the third quarter with a Gilles layup to increase the UWL lead to seven points. Oshkosh responded with a 13-2 run and took a 37-33 lead with just under six minutes to go in the quarter. The teams traded baskets for the next four minutes before UWL’s Schumann nailed a jumper to tie the game at 39. Both teams hit free throws in the final 20 seconds and the third quarter finished with both teams tied at 41.

La Crosse’s Kyah Steiner put the Eagles ahead by one point with a free throw early in the fourth quarter, but the lead didn’t last long and Jorgensen put Oshkosh back ahead with a layup. The final period was back-and-forth, but UWO took the lead for good after a Vaile free throw with six minutes remaining in the game. The Eagles kept the game to within three points, but Oshkosh grinded out the victory in the final minutes to advance to the WIAC semi-finals.

UWO head coach Brad Fischer said there wasn’t a lot between the two teams.

“We split the series in the regular season and in this game it went down to the last possession, so we’re very similar teams,” he said. “I just thought our players stepped up, Jenna Jorgensen made a huge play at the end, and it came down to a handful of plays.”

“I think this win definitely helps us in the tournament because we got one under our belt and we were a little nervous going into the game because it’s the playoffs,” Jorgensen said. “Now that we have that win, I think we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

The Titans will take on UW-Whitewater in the semifinals of the WIAC tournament Feb. 24 at the Williams Center at 7 p.m.