Blugold women's basketball wins conference opener over River Falls

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( Down 26-27 at the half, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team outscored UW-River Falls 22-6 in the third quarter to propel the Blugolds to a 64-55 win to open Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play on Wednesday night.

Kelsey Bakken (Jr. – Marshall, WI) scored nine of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter to lead the Blugold charge after a slow start in the first half.

Strong inside play by Katie Essen (So. – Farmington, MN/Rosemount) accounted for another 15 points and the sophomore also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to earn her first double-double of the season. Senior guard Maddie Dunathan (Sr. – Hortonville, WI) also finished in double figures with 13 points and recorded three of Eau Claire's nine steals while Hallee Hoeppner (Jr. – Winona, MN) chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.

For the game, the Blugolds shot 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the field and 46.7 percent (7-for-15) from three. The Eau Claire defense forced 18 Falcon turnovers on the night and held River Falls to 29.4 percent (15-for-51) from the field and 20.8 percent (5-for-24) from beyond the arc. Free throws kept the Falcons in the game as they connected on 20 of 22 attempts (90.9 percent) while the Blugolds were 15-for-27 (55.6 percent) from the line.

Eau Claire (10-2, 1-0 WIAC) will be back at home on Saturday as they host UW-Whitewater at 5 p.m. Follow the action on Blugold Game Day or on the 'UWEC Blugolds' app on your mobile device.