By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
WINONA, Minn. (blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team played in their third straight road game on Sunday, taking on Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, where they would fall 65-49.
The Blugolds got out to a quick 4-0 lead on buckets by Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) and Kayla Hanley (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI). That would turn out to be the largest lead the Blugolds held. With 3:35 left in the first period, Sarah Huebner (So. – Hortonville, WI) would convert a three-point play to make it 9-8 Saint Mary's.
Eau Claire trailed by two heading into the second quarter. The Cardinals would go on a 14-7 run to lead 27-18 with just over three and half minutes before halftime.
Nothing was falling from deep so the Blugolds began to attack inside. Buckets by Alleah Voigt (Sr. – Neilsville, WI) and Jordanna Midthun (Fr. – Waunakee, WI/DeForest) closed the gap to five. Sixteen first half points came from inside the paint.
The Blugolds had started out 0-8 from behind the arc until Hallee Hoeppner (Fr. – Winona, MN) connected from deep with 35 seconds before intermission to pull the Blugolds within six, 31-25.
The first half offensive attack included eight Blugolds and the bench did their part, outscoring the Cardinals 9-2.
The Blugold offense stalled in the third quarter, shooting 4-14 from the field and 0-4 from three. On the other side, four third quarter three-pointers made by the Cardinals allowed them to pull away leading by as much as 12 and ending the quarter with a 45-35 lead.
A Maddie Dunathan (So. – Hortonville, WI) three opened up the scoring in the fourth. Another three, this time by Hoeppner, narrowed the gap to five with 6:48 left in the game, but Saint Mary's responded with a three of their own on their next possession.
The Blugolds would continue to inch their way back into the game, pulling to within six on a Hanley layup with just over five minutes left in the game. But from there Saint Mary's would pull away to close out the game.
The Saint Mary's trio of Emma Schaefer, Sam Jones and Brandi Blattner, who combined for 48 of the Cardinals 65, provided a tough cover for the Blugolds.
Graaskamp led the team in scoring with 12 points and added nine rebounds. Hanley chipped in 11 and three, including 3-3 from the free throw line.
The Blugolds had 14 offensive rebounds and forced 17 turnovers. They also converted 8-10 shots at the free throw line. The team would end the day shooting 31.1 percent (19-61) from the floor and 13.6 percent (3-22) from three.
The Blugolds (4-4) are back in action on Tuesday night, December 13, in Zorn Area when they host the College of Saint Benedict at 7 p.m.
Follow all the action this season on Blugold Game Day.