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Blugolds Beat Morningside In Showcase Championship
Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2006
EAU CLAIRE - Michelle Burns (Jr. -Eau Claire/North) scored 14 second-half points to propel the UW-Eau Claire women's basketball team to a 74-65 triumph over a highly-regarded Morningside College in the championship game of the 15th Annual Eau Claire Thanksgiving Showcase at the W. L. Zorn Arena Saturday night.
Burns earned MVP honors for the second consecutive year as the Blugolds won their third straight Showcase title and 14th overall.
Morningside, which was playing its ninth game of the season, won the Showcase title in 2003 after sending the Blugolds into the consolation game with a 76-67 first round triumph. The Sioux City, Iowa school beat Buena Vista University, 88-65, in the title game that year and went on to win its first of two NAIA Division II national championships. This was the first meeting of the two teams since that 2003 confrontation.
Morningside controlled the game early on, leading by six at one point (16-10). The Mustangs were ahead 27-23 with 5:25 to go when the Blugolds went on a 10-2 run to end the half with a 33-29 lead.
The game remained close in the first seven minutes of the second half until Burns took over, hitting four baseline jumpers that vaulted the Blugolds to a 57-43 advantage with 6:25 left. Nine points was the closest Morningside came thereafter.
Heidi Arciszewski (So.-Thorp) actually led all scorers with 23 points including 12 in the first half. Missy Fremstad who sparked the Blugolds into the championship game with her 22-point effort against Otterbein, Ohio in the opening round, also chipped in with 11. Both Arciszewski and Fremstad were named to the five-player All-Tournament team.
Unable to consistently get inside against the Blugold defense, Morningside launched 26 treys and hit eight while the Blugolds were 6 for 10 from beyond the arc. The Blugolds hit 48 percent from the field for the game and also converted 18 of 23 free throws. Morningside hit 40 percent from the field and 11 of 14 charity tosses.
The teams were fairly even on the boards with Dani Gass leading Morningside's 35-33 advantage by grabbing nine to go with her team-high 19 points. Burns had nine caroms to lead the Blugolds.
Gass and teammate J. J. Hall were named to the All-Tournament team along with Otterbein's Laura Roth.
The Blugolds will take a 4-1 record into their Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener Wednesday at home against defending conference co-champion UW-Stout. Morningside leaves with a 6-3 season record.
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