Conference rivals will go at it tonight with huge stakes on the line as the UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh women’s basketball teams will play for the right to go to the Final Four. Both teams notched wins to advance to the Elite Eight on Friday night at the Kachel Gym in Whitewater.
Porath leads Titans over Baldwin Wallace
Leah Porath and Nikki Arneson helped push the UW-Oshkosh Titans to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1999. Porath scored 15 of her 27 points in the second half, while Arneson had 10 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter to push the Titans past Baldwin-Wallace 74-63.
“I think it takes me a half to figure out where they are,” Porath said after the win. “Ultimately, it is taking what is open. They left some things open and I took advantage.”
Both teams went back and forth early as there were six ties in the first half alone before the Titans closed out the first half with a 5-0 run courtesy of a basket from Abby Kaiser and a buzzer-beating three by Kennedy Osterman to grab a 33-28 lead at the half. In the third quarter, the Titans kept their foot on the gas as they pushed the lead to seven on a jump shot from Arneson before the Yellow Jackets cut the lead to one with an 8-1 run.
Early in the fourth quarter, UW-Oshkosh used three-pointers from Porath and Osterman to push a one-point lead back to seven at 60-53. Arneson pushed the lead to double figures with a three-point play to make it 65-55 with 4:17 left in the fourth quarter as the Titans never lost the lead in the last 24 minutes of the win.
“I’m super proud of these guys, and it was a great game,” UW-Oshkosh head coach Brad Fischer said. “Baldwin-Wallace is really good and we are kind of mirror images of one another in how we play and in our discipline.”
Lilly Edwards led the way for Baldwin Wallace with 23 points, while Caely Ressler and Emily Irwin both had 11 for the Yellow Jackets. UW-Oshkosh shot 41.8 percent for the game on 23 made shots including 6-for-16 from three-point range, while Baldwin-Wallace made 24 shots with only four coming from three-point territory.
Schumacher’s last-second layup pushes Warhawks to Elite Eight
UW-Whitewater advanced to the Elite Eight with heroics from a hometown girl. Former Whitewater Whippet and senior guard Rebekah Schumacher stole the ball and converted the game-winning layup in the final seven seconds to advance the Warhawks to the Elite Eight with a 78-76 overtime win over Smith College.
“We came out of the time out, and the last thing I heard Coach (Keri Carollo) say was go for a steal,” Schumacher said of the game-winning play. “That is what I did. I got a hand on it, and I knew we had five seconds left. So I just ran with it.”
UW-Whitewater started the game with a 6-0 run including four early points from Aleah Grundahl before Smith used a 13-2 run to grab the lead. The Warhawks responded with two three-pointers from Yssa Sto. Domingo and jumpers by Kacie Carollo and Maggie Trautsch to close the first quarter with a 19-18 lead.
The Warhawks started the second quarter with a 7-0 run before Smith College responded with a 9-2 run of their own including five points from Ally Yamada to retake a 29-26 lead. UW-Whitewater had three-pointers from Kacie Carollo and Trautsch late in the quarter to help the Warhawks take a 36-34 lead to the locker room.
“It was great to see our guards step up and play with a lot of confidence,” UW-Whitewater head coach Keri Carollo said. “That is the great thing about this team. It can be a guard one night, a post or a combination of the two. For us to have that well-rounded balanced attack is something we really work towards.”
Grundahl and Sto. Domingo continued to step up as Grundahl had 10 points in the third quarter, while Sto. Domingo knocked down her fourth three of the game to help the Warhawks get a 53-44 lead. Smith used six unanswered points including four from Morgan Morrison to cut the lead to 54-50 heading into the fourth quarter.
The battle of runs continued in the fourth quarter as the Warhawks started the period with a 7-2 run before Smith tied the game at 63 with a 9-0 run of their own. Grundahl broke the tie with a layup with 2:25 to go before Morrison sent the game to overtime with a layup in the paint with nine seconds to go.
Smith College broke a 68-68 tie in the overtime period with an 8-3 run including jumpers from Katelyn Pickunka and Jessie Ruffner to grab a 76-71 lead with 1:07 to go in the period. Trautsch was fouled on the next two offensive possessions with one being on a three-point shot, the sophomore knocked down all five free throws to tie the game with eight seconds to go.
With eight seconds to go, senior Rebekah Schumacher stole the inbound pass and scored the game-winning layup off a pass from Aleah Grundahl with less than a second left for the win.
The Warhawks shot 30.4 percent for the game with nine makes from three-point range and 27 made shots from the free-throw line. Kacie Carollo led the team in scoring with 19, while Grundahl had 17 and Sto. Domingo had 15.
What’s Next for Conference Rivals?
With the wins, UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh will play for the right to go to the Final Four in Pittsburgh. The Warhawks have won two of the three previous meetings this season, and the game will tip-off at the Kachel Gym in Whitewater at 7 p.m.