Whitewater hands the Blugold Women their first conference loss

WHITEWATER, Wis. (Blugolds.com) –The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's basketball team fell to the No. 15 UW-Whitewater Warhawks on Wednesday night in Whitewater 86-61.

Whitewater jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first 2:30 when Jenni LaCroix (Sr. – Verona, WI) hit a jumper for Eau Claire. Halfway through the first quarter the Warhawks held a 14-7 advantage.

Hallee Hoeppner (So. – Winona, MN) hit the first Blugolds 3-pointer of the night with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter of play to pull Eau Claire back within four, at 16-12.

On the next possession, Whitewater responded with a three of their own. The Warhawks were up by 10 nearing the end the quarter when LaCroix buried a shot from deep making it 25-18 after the first.

It was Whitewater leading 35-27 when the Warhawks went on a run during a Blugold scoring drought. Over next five minutes, the Blugolds only bucket was an old fashioned 3-point play by Kayla Hanley (Sr. – Chippewa Falls, WI). Whitewater outscored Eau Claire 12-3 until Hoeppner found the range with 1:38 remaining in the first half.

Eau Claire trailed 49-33 at the break. The Blugolds shot 11-29 (37.9 percent) from the floor during the first two quarters.

Hanley knocked down a triple on the Blugolds second possession out of the locker room. Whitewater extended their lead to 19 over the next few minutes.

Nearing the halfway mark of the third quarter, Hoeppner once against dialed it up from deep to cut the deficit to 16, 56-40, but Whitewater went on another offensive burst.

The Warhawks outscored the Blugolds 11-2 to go up by 25. At the end of the quarter, Eau Claire trailed 71-44.

The Blugold struggled to contain the offense of the Warhawks as they stretched their lead to 35 three minutes into the final quarter. Whitewater controlled the remainder of the game to hand the Blugolds their first conference loss.

Eau Claire shot 19-49 (38.8 percent) on field goals in the game, 9-22 (40.9 percent) from distance and 14-25 (56 percent) at the line.

Hoeppner led the Blugolds with19 points on five made 3-pointers. Hanley tallied 17 points and Kelsey Bakken (So. – Marshall, WI) had 10 points, a team-high seven rebounds and four steals.

The Blugolds (10-4, 2-1) face UW-Stevens Point in Zorn Area at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Follow the action this season on Blugold Game Day.

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