UW-Oshkosh grabbed a share of the WIAC lead with a hard-fought 54-49 victory over the UW-Whitewater women's basketball team on Wednesday (Jan. 16) in Kolf Sports Center.
The Titans (14-3/6-2 WIAC) are now tied atop the league standings with the Warhawks, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Superior. UW-Whitewater (12-5/6-2 WIAC) entered the night ranked 24th in the NCAA Division III.
In front of a spirited crowd, the teams combined for 74 missed shots, 35 fouls and 32 offensive rebounds. Neither squad shot above 32 percent, so every possession was valuable.
UW-Whitewater made seven of its first 10 shots to lead early. Five different Warhawks scored to go ahead, 10-1, after six minutes of play.
A three-pointer from Megan Wenig(Sr. Oshkosh) got the Titans on track. She nailed another jump shot to start a 7-0 run, as UW-Oshkosh played airtight defense. Katelyn Kuehl (So. Fond du Lac) bucket with 3:11 on the clock pulled the Titans within 18-14.
Nine seconds into the second period, Megan Theune converted a lay-up to make it 24-16. The margin then remained at 3-6 points for the next seven minutes.
Down 34-27, UW-Oshkosh rallied with a 16-3 scoring run. Katie Kitzke (Sr. South Milwaukee) made a floater as the shot clock expired to take a 36-35 lead. Kitzke sank two free throws with 6:39 left for a 43-37 cushion.
After 36 minutes without a triple, UW-Whitewater got a four-point play from Kaitlyn Thill to make it 45-42. Courtney Kumerow then gave the Warhawks a 46-45 lead with two foul shots.
UW-Oshkosh went back on top, 49-46 with 1:47 remaining, after two free throws apiece by Kuehl and Kitzke. The Titans held on thanks to their defense, forcing the Warhawks into 1-of-7 shooting during the last 80 seconds.
Kuehl led a balanced effort with 15 points and eight rebounds. UW-Oshkosh also received 14 points from Wenig, 13 points from Kitzke and nine rebounds by Ashley Winterfeldt (Sr. Hortonville).
The Titans grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to earn their first win over UW-Whitewater in 13 meetings. UW-Oshkosh compiled 32 percent shooting (15-47) from the field, including 3-of-11 success (27 percent) behind the arc and 21-of-28 accuracy on free throws (75 percent).
UW-Whitewater made 31 percent (19-61) of its field goals while knocking down 2-of-8 three-pointers (25 percent) and 9-of-14 free throws (64 percent).
Kumerow led the visitors with 15 points and six rebounds, in addition to nine points and five steals by Thill and 10 rebounds from Lisa Palmer.
UW-Oshkosh is off until a road game at UW-Platteville next Wednesday (Jan. 23).