By Tommy McGowan, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com)- The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team came out victorious Tuesday night, defeating St. Norbert 51-38. The game also served as Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day.
The Blugolds took the first quarter, finishing the period with a 16-11 lead. Katie Essen (Jr.-Farmington, MN/Rosemount) put in a layup to begin all scoring, while it was Hallee Hoeppner (Sr.-Winona, MN) who wrapped things up off a second chance opportunity.
Despite a poor shooting second, Eau Claire brought a three-point lead into the half, up 27-24. Even with the offensive struggles, Hoeppner found a way to make a large impact, with four rebounds and a block. Megan Baer (Fr.-Apple Valley, MN) led the Blugolds with four points during the period.
Hoeppner opened the scoring in the second half, and Eau Claire really began to separate themselves. It was another tough shooting quarter from the field, but Eau Claire found other ways to get on the board, getting to the free throw line and shooting 7-9. They ended the quarter with a 38-28 lead.
St. Norbert was unable to close the gap in the final ten minutes, as strong defense from the Blugolds held them to just 3-10 from the field in the quarter. Anna Grasskamp (Sr.-Eau Claire, WI/Memorial) was the leading force in finishing off the Knights, as she had six points and added five boards in the period.
Even though it was not a great shooting night for Eau Claire, their stellar defense was crucial to the win, holding St. Norbert to just 14-51 from the field (27.5%). Grasskamp finished the game with a double-double, leading all scorers with 13 and adding 15 rebounds. Hoeppner had 10 herself, while also snatching seven boards.
The victory moves the Blugolds to 3-4 overall. They will be back in Zorn Arena once again this Saturday to take on UW-Superior at 5 PM. It will be their final action before a two-week break prior to a December 14th road trip to St. Catherine (Minn.).