The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point women’s basketball team lost to UW-Eau Claire 66-55 last Saturday. The hosting Bluegolds out-rebounded the Pointers 45 to 33, resulting in 20 second-chance points. Eau Claire also had 32 points in the paint compared to Point’s 10.
Eau Claire got out to a quick start by gaining a six-point lead twice in the first eight minutes, but Point was able to tie the game halfway through the first half. The tie held for the following four minutes as both teams went cold.
Point broke the tie and went on a 15-7 run to end the first half with a 29-21 lead. UWSP had eight points off the bench in the first half, led by sophomore post Myranda Tyler, who finished with a team-high 12 points in the game.
“We have great depth on our team,” Tyler said. “Whenever someone needs to come out of the game for a break, I’m always confident that whoever subs in is going to play good minutes.”
The Bluegolds quickly erased the deficit in the first three minutes, but Point would regain the lead until halfway through the second half. The game was tied with five minutes remaining before Eau Claire went on a 14-3 run to end the game.
“They played with more intensity than we did coming out in the second half,” Tyler said. “They were more aggressive and we didn’t match it. They also used their strengths well to get an advantage over us.”
Junior guards Sam Barber and Brooke Allen each had 11 points to help out Tyler in scoring. Barber also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Senior forward Callie Halama led the way for the Bluegolds with a career best 27 points and 13 rebounds. Senior center Ellen Plendl also finished with a double-double, scoring 20 points and pulling down 12 boards.
Going into the game, Point was ranked 10 with Eau Claire at 22, according to d3hoops.com. Due to the loss, Point is forced to share the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title with the Bluegolds, but for the second straight year UWSP either owns or shares it.
“It makes me work hard and gives me a passion to always want to win the title and go far in the post season,” said Tyler, who has been a part of both titles in her two years at UWSP. “I hold myself to the same high standard that is expected of me and our team on the court.”
The Pointers earned a number one seed in the WIAC tournament, giving them a first round bye. They will then host the lowest seed remaining on Thursday. Potential opponents are UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls or UW-Superior. Point lost to both La Crosse and River Falls during the regular season but also defeated La Crosse in a rematch on Senior Day.
“Our focus going into the playoffs is defeating the team in front of us,” Tyler said. “Thursday’s game is the only one that matters and we’re not going to be worrying about who we might face in the future because we have to earn the right to advance first. Coach Egner always says that the current game we’re playing is the most important one of our season.”