Warhawks’ title hopes get boost
Upsets might have made the UW-Whitewater men’s and women’s basketball teams’ run to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship games a bit easier Tuesday night.
Both the Warhawk teams earned byes in Tuesday’s first-round games by winning the regular-season championships.
The UW-Whitewater men (21-4) will play No. 6-seeded UW-Superior (15-11) in a semifinal game at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Yellowjackets upset No. 3-seed UW-La Crosse, 83-77, at La Crosse on Tuesday.
The Warhawks swept the regular-season series against Superior, winning 92-73 at Superior and 70-63 at Whitewater.
Jake Smith led the Yellowjackets’ upset at La Crosse, making 13 of 21 field-goal attempts and 9 of 10 free throws for 35 points. The 35 points were the third highest-scoring individual game in WIAC Tournament history. He also had nine rebounds.
Andrew Haass scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Eagles (17-9).
No. 4-seed UW-Stout made two three-point shots in the final 48 seconds to overtake No. 5-seed UW-Platteville, 75-74. Jerrel Enerson-Mathews won the game with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Blue Devils (16-10) play at No. 2-seed UW-Stevens Point (21-4) in the other men’s semifinal game Thursday night.
UW-Whitewater (19-6) will have a chance to avenge last year’s WIAC Tournament semifinal defeat to UW-Eau Claire.
The Blugolds once again will travel to Whitewater for a semifinal game after they upset No. 3-seed UW-La Crosse, 61-57, on the Eagles’ home court Tuesday night.
The No. 6-seeded Blugolds (10-16) clinch the win when Hannah Mesick blocked a shot by La Crosse’s Melissa Lang with Eau Claire leading, 59-57, in the final seconds. Mesick was fouled after controlling the blocked shot, and she made two free throws to account for the final score.
Last year, Eau Claire defeated Whitewater, 61-34, in the semifinal game at Whitewater. The two teams split their regular-season matchups this year.
The semifinal game begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kachel Gym.
The other semifinal game Thursday matches No. 4-seed UW-Stout at No. 2-seed UW-Stevens Point.
Stout advanced by beating No. 5-seed UW-River Falls, 86-70. The Blue Devils (16-10) led by 31 points in the second half. Julia Hirrsig had 20 points and nine rebounds for the winners.