By Travis Nyhus, UWEC Sports Information
RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team won a low scoring battle filled with runs 44-41 on the road versus UW-River Falls Wednesday night.
The defense for both sides kept each team off the board for almost four minutes. The Blugolds took a 7-4 lead with four minutes remaining in the first period on a three pointer by Jenni LaCroix (Jr. – Verona, WI). Anna Graaskamp (Fr. – Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) scored four straight for Eau Claire and they ended the first with a 14-13 advantage.
River Falls would open the second period on a 7-0 run, but Eau Claire would respond with a run of their own. Two buckets from Graaskamp and a triple from Kayla Hanley (Jr. – Chippewa Falls, WI) put the Blugolds ahead 24-20 with just over three minutes left in the quarter.
At the break Eau Claire was up by two, 26-24. Graaskamp led Eau Claire in the first half with 10 points and six boards, while the team shot 10-25 (35.7 percent) overall.
River Falls found some offense out of the locker room, which led to a 10-0 run over the first five and a half minutes of the third period. Trailing by eight, Eau Claire fought back courtesy of Graaskamp. She scored four quick points and then Hallee Hoeppner (Fr. – Winona, MN) hit a jumper before Hanley capped off the response with a big shot from deep. The 9-0 run by the Blugolds gave them a 35-34 lead with a minute left in the third.
Heading into the final quarter, Eau Claire trailed 38-37. Both teams would lock down defensively in last 10 minutes. The first 4:49 was scoreless until Bree Meier (Sr. – Lakeville, MN/South) delivered from deep.
The Falcons answered with a three pointer of their own, but Graaskamp scored inside to take back the lead 42-41 with 3:26 remaining. The Blugolds would hold the Falcons to 0-7 shooting for the remainder of the game and Hanley converted on two crucial free throws late to earn the victory.
The Blugolds shot 17-53 (32.1 percent) from the field along with shutting down the offensive attack of River Falls. They held the Falcons to 16-61 (26.2 percent) overall and only three fourth quarter points.
Graaskamp scored a game-high 18 points, along with collecting nine rebounds. Hanley had eight points and three steals, while Alleah Voigt (Sr. – Neilsville, WI) had seven boards in only 14 minutes of action.
The Blugolds (13-11, 7-6) return home Saturday to wrap up the regular season on Senior Night when they face UW-Whitewater. Tip off is set for 5 p.m.
Follow all the action this season on Blugold Game Day.