By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team was propelled to a 70-60 road victory over UW-Platteville Wednesday night on a career night from Kayla Hanley (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI).
Hanley got things going early for Eau Claire hitting a triple for the first points of the game. Hallee Hoeppner (Fr. – Winona, MN) matched Hanley by knocking down a three of her own. With 5:19 left in the first period the Blugolds led 15-4 as Hanley made a trio of shots from deep and Hoeppner connected on her second from long range.
Things wouldn't slow down for Hanley, who put the finishing touches on a dominant quarter by finding the range on two more threes. With a 21-12 lead after one quarter of play, Hanley was already 5-5 from behind the arc.
Platteville had closed the gap to three halfway through the second period, but Hanley did her best to widen the lead. She would sink two more from behind the arc over a period of 40 seconds that gave the Blugolds a 36-29 advantage with 1:29 remaining before intermission. The Pioneers wouldn't give in though, matching Eau Claire's point total by the break.
Hanley had made her first seven attempts from deep before missing in the final minutes of first half play. At the break, she tallied 23 points on 8-9 from the field and making 7-8 three pointers.
The Blugolds shot 13-32 (40.6 percent) on field goals in the first half while the Pioneers shot 13-29 (44.8 percent).
The third quarter would be a back and forth battle between the Blugolds and Pioneers. A Bree Meier (Sr. – Lakeville, MN/South) three pointer gave Eau Claire a 49-42 lead with 1:56 left in the period. Meier would knock down a jumper with eight seconds remaining which gave Eau Claire the six-point lead, 53-47, heading into the final quarter.
Platteville pulled to within four until Hoeppner made her third shot from deep in the game. An old-fashioned three-point-play by Hanley gave Eau Claire the ten-point advantage with 6:48 remaining in the game. The Pioneers wouldn't go away as they picked away at the Blugold lead. With 3:27 left in the game Eau Claire still led 61-57. Knocking down free throws was key in the end as the Blugolds went 5-5 down the stretch for the 10-point victory.
The Blugolds (10-8, 4-3) shot 24-57 (42.1 percent) on field goals, 11-23 (47.8 percent) from distance and converted 11-16 (68.8 percent) at the charity stripe.
Hanley lead all scorers with a career-high 28 points on 10-13 shooting overall and a career-high seven made threes. She also had seven rebounds and two assists. Not to be overlooked, Hoeppner also added a career-high 16 points and Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) notched nine points and six boards.
Eau Claire forced 21 turnovers and took care of the ball on their side limiting themselves to only 10. The Blugolds capitalized on the Pioneer miscues by scoring 23 points off turnovers.
The Blugolds return to action on Saturday when they host UW-Oshkosh at Zorn Arena for Alumni Day with a 5 p.m. tip-off. An alumni game will also take place at 11 a.m. and is open to the public.
Follow all the action this season on Blugold Game Day.