Women’s Basketball: Last home game

Platteville puts up a battle against Eau Claire, falling 51-68

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Women’s Basketball team hosted the final game against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. This was the last home game for the seniors, making it senior night.

“We just talked about taking care of our game plan [because] the last time we played Eau Claire, we backed down a little bit, lacked execution and didn’t take care of the basketball,” head women’s basketball coach Megan Wilson said.

Platteville won the tip-off and the game was off to a speedy start. Each team pushed the ball up the court but missed multiple shots right away. Platteville went into the game with strong defense by putting pressure on Eau Claire, forcing them to turn the ball over. Platteville took advantage of these turnovers by scoring on each of them. Platteville had momentum as they lead 6-0 forcing Eau Claire to take a timeout. Eau Claire came out of the timeout with a different strategy, pressing and trapping Platteville in the corners. Platteville found a way to beat the press and had back-to-back scoring possessions. Platteville was the first to foul late in the first quarter. Eau Claire took the lead late in the first quarter and caused Platteville to turn the ball over. Platteville ended the first quarter down 14-18.

Eau Claire pressed Platteville and trapped in the corners to start the second quarter. Both teams had another run of multiple missed shots. Senior Amber Williams gave Platteville some momentum they needed by dribbling the ball all the way down the court and making her layup, resulting in Eau Claire fouling. The “and one” was good. She then got a steal on Eau Claire’s next possession and made another layup. Amber went on a 9-0 run by herself within a couple of minutes. Platteville forced Eau Claire to turn the ball over and scored on these opportunities. Platteville fouled with 1.5 seconds left in the half, and Eau Claire made the free throws and took the lead, 34-35. The first half was a strong battle fought by both teams as the scoring remained close the whole time.

“At halftime the two adjustments we addressed were to limit our turnovers and limit their [Eau Claire’s] second chance opportunities. We had given up eight offensive rebounds, with six of them coming in the first quarter and we knew to stay in the game with their size, we had to limit their second looks,” Wilson said.

Eau Claire got the ball to start the second half and playsed a 2-3 zone defense. Platteville adjusted well as they beat the zone but missed their shots inside the paint. Platteville got their own rebounds and put them back up, trying for more shots until Eau Claire came out with the rebound. Eau Claire took the momentum late in the third quarter as Platteville played flat and tired. The talking stopped on Platteville’s end, resulting in miscommunication on the court. Platteville went over the foul limit late in the third quarter and Eau Claire shot bonus. Eau Claire lead at the end of the third quarter 41-48.

Platteville started the fourth quarter looking tired as it showed in turnovers and easy layups made by Eau Claire. Platteville changed their defense from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone with trapping. Platteville picked up their intensity and took the momentum halfway through the fourth quarter. Eau Claire got in bonus late in the fourth quarter and took advantage of the situation by making their free throws. Eau Claire spread the floor to waste the last couple minutes. Platteville fell 51-68.

“I feel like they should have been playing a more aggressive defense while Eau Claire was expanding their lead, but [playing 2-3 zone] helped slow down Eau Claire’s offense,” freshman elementary education major Maddie Flanders said.

The leading scorers of the game were Allison Prestegaard with 12 points and Amber Williams with 13 points. Williams put up a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The seniors were recognized after the game by the other players and the coaches. The 2017-2018 seniors are Blaire Lutes, Jalen Knowlton, Sydnei Smith and Amber Williams.

“I think overall this was challenging for our student-athletes,” coach Wilson said.  “We have been working to build this program up to be a competitor in the toughest Division III league in the country. Our record definitely doesn’t indicate the growth we’ve seen over the year with seven of our losses coming by three possessions or less. We suffered key injuries and losses throughout the season, that allowed some of our younger student-athletes to gain valuable game-time experience which will hopefully transfer over to next season. The way they handled the adversity that was thrown at them made me proud to be their coach and is a key reminder of the phenomenal student-athletes that we have representing this institution.”