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Women's Basketball Finishes Season As WIAC Co-Champion
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2008
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - With Heidi Arciszewski's (Jr. -Thorp) career-high 30 points in a nailbiting 77-74 win over UW-Stout today, the 23rd-ranked UW-Eau Claire women's basketball team secured its place as conference co-champion.
The Blugolds end the season at 14-2 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) games and 20-5 overall. No. 4 UW-Whitewater also finished its season up today with an 82-38 game over UW-River Falls. The Warhawks are 14-2 in the WIAC and 23-2 overall. After going through four different tiebreakers, the top seed in the WIAC tourney was determined by a coin flip, which Eau Claire won. The top-seeded Blugolds will now face eighth-seeded River Falls on Tuesday at home.
Today's game was close throughout, with the biggest first-half lead coming at 14:53.The Blue Devils had a 12-4 margin at this point. An 11-0 run from Eau Claire put the team up by three at 11:06. It was back-and-forth for the next eight minutes. The largest lead was four for the Blugolds a few times, but Stout immediately cut it back down. Though Eau Claire clung to a slight lead during that span, there were two lead changes and three ties. A 6-0 run by the Blugolds at 3:35 put Eau Claire up 39-33. A 9-1 Blue Devil burst ended the half as Stout went to the locker room up 42-40.
The Blue Devils outshot Eau Claire 58.6 percent-to-43.8 percent but Eau Claire made 8-of-10 (80 percent) from the line while Stout went just 2-of-3 (66.7 percent). Both teams made some key threes, as the Blugolds sank 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) and Stout made 6-of-11 (54.5 percent).
Eau Claire looked like it was gaining the edge in the start of the second half. A three-point play by Arciszewski at 19:19 gave the home team its lead back. Stout did go up by one shortly after, but Eau Claire then went on a 7-0 run. Stout narrowed it down to two before the Blugolds had a 13-4 run. Arciszewski had two threes and eight points in that time as Eau Claire built its largest lead of the day, a 63-52 score.
Stout climbed back into it once again, this time with an 11-2 burst to make it 65-63 with 5:47 to play. Eau Claire got it to seven at 3:34, but six straight Blue Devil points made it 70-69 with 2:08 to play. Heather Witt (Jr.-Kendall/Royall) hit a huge three at 52 seconds to put the Blugolds up by five. A layup got Stout within a three but a Missy Fremstad (Jr.-Osseo/Osseo-Fairchild) free throw proved pivotal as it put Eau Claire up by four. Lindsey Geissler made a three with 10 seconds to go, but with Eau Claire up by one, they had to foul. Arciszewski's two free throws sealed the deal.
In the second half, Eau Claire shot 44.0 percent compared to 36.7 percent for Stout. The Blugolds made 12-of-17 from the line in the second half. For the whole game, the Blue Devils outshot Eau Claire 47.5 percent-to-43.9 percent. The Blugolds made half their threes (7-of-14) while Stout hit 9-of-19 (47.4 percent). The 20-of-27 (74.1 percent) from the line for Eau Claire easily beat Stout's 9-of-15 (60.0 percent). The Blugolds also outrebounded Stout 40-to-31.
Arciszewski's career-best 30 points were tops among all players today while Michelle Burns (Sr.-Eau Claire/North) had 22 behind her. Burns' seven boards were most for the team. Julia Hirssig scored 18 to lead Stout.
This is the first year since 2003-04 that Eau Claire hit 20 wins, as that season's squad went 21-6. The last time the Blugolds had at least 14 WIAC wins was a 16-0 2002-03 year. That was also the last time Eau Claire had the WIAC championship, though they had sole possession that season. 1996-97 was the last shared title for Eau Claire.
Eau Claire swept the season series over Stout to bring the all-time record to 42-23 between these two rivals.
Tuesday's WIAC Quarterfinal will begin at 7 p.m. against River Falls in Zorn Arena.Eau Claire-Stout Box Score