EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – Despite being down almost the entire first half, the UW-Eau Claire women's basketball team never trailed in the second half and defeated UW-La Crosse 63-55 on Ken Anderson Court in Zorn Arena .
The Blugolds got down early as the Eagles jumped out to a 12-0 lead. It took the Blugolds nearly six minutes to hit a basket. After five straight misses to start the game, Shannon Riley (Fr.-Muskego, Wis.) recorded the Blugolds' first basket of the night, which started an 8-0 Eau Claire run to cut La Crosse's lead to four (12-8).
The Eagles then used a run of their own to get back up by 10 but the Blugolds began to chip away at the lead. Over the final 9:19 of the first half, the Blugolds outscored the Eagles 21-8 and Nicole Slovensky (Fr.-Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Lincoln) capped off the half with a three-pointer in the closing seconds, giving the Blugolds their first lead of the night at 31-28.
Following the intermission, Sarah Bingea (Sr.-Delano, Minn.) scored on a layup to give the Blugolds a five-point lead and the closest the Eagles got the rest of the way was one point on two occasions.
With Eau Claire up 48-40 with eight minutes left, La Crosse got to within three and the game remained close for the next few minutes. But over the final minute and a half, the Blugolds outscored the Eagles 9-4, reaching their largest lead of the night (nine points) with less than 20 seconds to play. The Eagles hit a three-pointer near the end but Bingea nailed two free throws to give the Blugolds the eight-point win.
Bingea finished with her second straight double-double as she led Eau Claire with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Casteele Miller (Sr.-Stanley, Wis./Eau Claire Regis) finished with 14 points and Cady Roedl (Fr.-Beaver Dam, Wis.) had six assists to lead Eau Claire. With 11 different Blugolds scoring, 39 of the points came off the bench.
Shooting 34.5 percent from the field in the first half, the Blugolds improved to 45.5 percent in the second half to finish the game shooting 39.2 percent (20-for-51). La Crosse shot 32.3 percent (20-for-62).
A major difference in tonight's game came from points off turnovers. Both teams finished with 21 turnovers but Eau Claire converted them into 23 points while La Crosse scored just 11.
Eau Claire is now 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the WIAC while La Crosse drops to 3-3 on the season and 0-1 in the conference.
Wednesday, the Blugolds will be home again for their final game in Zorn Arena before the new year. Eau Claire will host UW-Platteville at 7 p.m. for Student Appreciation Night.