The University of Chicago women’s basketball team ended UW-Eau Claire’s 18-game home court win streak with a 56-49 triumph in the championship game of the Eau Claire Thanksgiving Showcase here Saturday.
In a battle of two unbeatens, the Maroons limited Eau Claire’s shooting production from the field, holding the Blugolds to 25 percent (16-63) while converting 48.8 percent (21-43) themselves to account for the margin of victory.
Since dropping a 67-54 decision to UW-Stout on January 25, 2006, the Blugolds had won the final four games of the 2005-06 season, all 13 games last season and their home opener in 2007-08.
Chicago forced Eau Claire into catch-up mode after the Maroons scored the first nine points of the second half to break from a 23-22 lead at intermission to a 32-22 advantage at the 16:54 mark. The Blugolds never got closer than seven points thereafter. The Maroons had scored the first five points of the game and led at one point in the first half 13-5 before the Blugolds battled back to take their only lead of the game at 22-21 in the final minute of the half.
Despite the fact that Chicago committed 27 turnovers to just 12 by the Blugolds, the Maroons out boarded the Blugolds 49-35 and outscored them in the paint, 32-12.
The Blugolds did not help themselves at the free throw line as they hit just 12 of 24 but the Maroons were equally inept with the same totals.
Chicago was led by Nofi Mojidi with 14 points while tournament MVP Jamie Stinson added 12 and Nicaya Rapier 11. Eau Claire’s Heidi Arciszewski (Jr.-Thorp, WI) took game scoring honors with 16. Michelle Burns (Sr.-Eau Claire, WI/North) was the only other Blugold to reach double figures with 10.
Eau Claire had won three Thanksgiving Showcase titles in succession since Morningside claimed the 2003 crown. That was the only time in the 16-year history of the tournament that the Blugolds had failed to win until this year.