WHITEWATER, WIS. – The women’s basketball season ended Friday night with a 91-73 loss to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Whitewater, Wis.
All-MIAC junior Rachel Booth’s 19 points and 8 rebounds weren’t enough to lift the Tommies over a high-scoring Warhawks team.
The Tommies trailed by just 2 points at half, but turnovers and a lack of rebounding in the second half led to several key runs for the Warhawks that the Tommies couldn’t counter.
Coach Ruth Sinn said the Tommies didn’t make the necessary adjustments to stop an experienced Warhawk team.
“You gotta give them credit,” she said. “They beat us to a lot of loose balls. They got a lot of [offensive] boards, and that’s not a situation that we’re used to being in. They have a senior-based team; we don’t … We lost our poise tonight, and that has not happened in a while.”
After a competitive first half with countless lead changes, the Warhawks started the second half with a 7-0 run. But the Tommies battled back to their first lead of the second half with 11:30 remaining before the Warhawks began a 13-2 run with about six minutes left, essentially putting the game out of reach.
It was a tale of two halves for the Tommies, who gave up 13 turnovers and allowed the Warhawks to grab 12 offensive rebounds in the second half.
For the Warhawks, it was a high scoring affair all-around. All five starters for the Warhawks scored in the double digits, contributing significantly to the highest scoring performance by a Tommie opponent this season.
“We haven’t given up 90 points to anybody,” Sinn said. “We’re a very strong defensive team. That wasn’t apparent tonight. We have to take ownership of that and learn from it.”
The Tommies had a particularly hard time stopping senior forward Nicole Bundy, who scored 25 points for the Warhawks and shot 4-7 from the 3-point line.
“She’s an excellent shooter, and she can put the ball on the floor, and we didn’t do a good job,” Sinn said.
Sophomore Chantel Burg was also key for the Warhawks, earning a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Sophomore Sarah Smith gave the Tommies a lift of the bench, scoring 11 points on 4-5 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds.
Other notable performances for the Tommies include sophomore Ali Johnson with 16 points and sophomore Jordyn Sears with 10.
While the season is over for the Tommies, Sinn said the loss will give them plenty of incentive to improve in the offseason.
“The positive thing is [the players] have another opportunity, but they have to wait about eight months,” she said.
Brent Fischer can be reached at mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org.