UW-Whitewater women’s basketball coach Keri Carollo admits her coaching milestones often occur in a crazy fashion.
Carollo’s 300th victory didn’t disappoint.
With Whitewater deadlocked with third-ranked Oshkosh, 52-52, Warhawks guard Camri Conley drove baseline, pulled up and drilled the game-winner at the buzzer to give the Warhawks a 54-52 victory.
The heart-stopping victory made Carollo the fourth coach in WIAC history to reach the 300-win plateau.
“Not a bad way to get 300," Carollo said. “The great thing about being a part of this program is that I’ve had some pretty cool milestones that have always come in some crazy-cool fashion.”
Not to be outdone was Conley, who just beat the buzzer with a basket from 15 feet.
“In was the second option on that final play,” Conley said. “But I got the ball so quickly that I knew they were going to go for the block, so I just dribbled and tried to get the shot off in time. I’m happy it went in, but I was just trying to get the shot off in time.”
Whitewater gained the final possession of the game after grabbing a deflected shot on Oshkosh’s last possession with 3.8 seconds left. Then, after calling timeout, Carollo drew up a final play that didn’t go as planned.
“Brooke (Trewyn) was our first option on that play, but they overplayed her and we went to Conley,” Carollo said. "I told Conley, if you get the ball, shoot it, and as soon as it left her hand I knew it was in.”
Conley’s heroics helps Whitewater earn its 11th victory in 12 games. The Warhawks won their first 10 games before falling to second-ranked Wartburg 64-55 in its previous contest. Whitewater has now played the 17th-, second-, and third-ranked teams in succession, winning two of the three.
“This is the kind of competition that we live for,” said Whitewater forward Olivia Freckmann, who had nine points and 12 rebounds off the bench. “This is the type of game that is going to help us in the long run and make us a better team.”
The Titans certainly looked like the third-ranked team in the country, jumping out to a 24-14 lead in the second quarter. Conley helped close the gap to 29-25 with a layup and 3-pointer.
“We talked about, at halftime, that we had to clean up the offensive glass,” Carollo said. “I knew if we could hang in there and do that, it would be a close game that would come down to who has better possessions down the stretch.”
Both teams threw everything they had at each other throughout the second half before Oshkosh grabbed a 51-47 on Chloe Pustina’s 3-pointer with 1:13 left.
But Whitewater clawed its way back and eventually drew even on Malia Smith’s acrobatic three-point play in the lane to make it 52-52 with 34 seconds left.
Whitewater shut down the Titans on the ensuing possession and grabbed a tipped shot with 3.8 seconds remaining.
That set the stage for Conley’s game-winner and the post-game celebration.
WHITEWATER 54, OSHKOSH 52
Oshkosh (52)—Pustina 2-3 1-2 6, Melotik 2-10 1-7 5, El. Campbell 5-14 2-2 14, Samuels 5-8 1-2 11, Pitt, 1-4 3, Schneider 3-8 2-2 9, Staples 1-3 2, Rueth 1-4 2. Totals: 20-55, 6-12, 52.
Whitewater (54)—Conley 3-10 0-2 7, Smith 5-11 1-1 11, Trewyn 2-9 4-4 8, Deichl 3-7 1-2 7, Meinert, 5-10 10, Raeder 0-3 2-2, 2, Freckmann 4-7 1-2 9. Totals: 22-57, 9-13, 54.
Oshkosh 14 15 7 16—52
Whitewater 10 15 9 20—54
Three point goals—Oshkosh 6-21 (Pustina, 1-1, Melotik 1-7, El. Campbell 2-5, Pitt 1-2, Schneider 1-4, Staples 0-1, Rueth 0-1), Whitewater 1-9 (Conley 1-2, Smith 0-9, Trewyn 0-2, Freckmann 0-2). Rebounds—Oshkosh 45 (El. Campbell), Whitewater 31 (Freckmann 12). Assists—Oshkosh 7 (Pustina 3), Whitewater 12 (Trewyn 3, Meinert 3). Total fouls—Oshkosh 16, Whitewater 16. Fouled out—none.