In matter of minutes, UW-Whitewater’s seven-point halftime lead over Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) was gone.
A few minutes after that, the Warhawks season was over, too.
Gustavus Adolphus outscored Whitewater 44-23 in the second half, including ablistering 22-8 run in the final seven minutes, and rolled to a 74-60 win in an NCAA Division 3 III second-round game at Kachel Gym.
Whitewater (25-4) had no answer for seniors Miranda Rice and Mikayla Miller, who combined to score 47 points to propel the Golden Gusties into the sweet 16 against Thomas More Friday.
Whitewater High product Brooke Trewyn paced the Warhawks with 18 points in her final game, while junior Olivia Freckmann added 12 in the disappointing defeat.
“Hats off to Gustavus, every time we made a run they had an answer,” UW-Whitewater coach Keri Carollo said. “We tried a couple different things defensively, but like I said, Gustavus had an answer for them.”
The Golden Gusties answer never changed, continually relying on Rice and Miller to control the game with streaky shooting. The duo scored eight of the first 10 points in the second half to turn a seven-point halftime deficit into a 40-37 lead.
Whitewater, meanwhile, fell out of sync in the second half, with just two field goals and seven points in the third quarter to trail 50-44 at the end of the third quarter.
“The way we came out in the third quarter was the key for us,” Gustavus Adolphus coach Laurie Kelly said. “Defensively was the key for us and they got on their heels and then our execution in the third and fourth quarters offensively also key.”
The Warhawks put the Golden Gusties’ execution to the test at the start of the fourth quarter with their trademark full-court press. That yielded a quick 8-2 run capped by Trewyn’s up-and-under layup to knot the game at 52.
With the Warhawks’ crowd sensing the momentum swing, the Golden Gusties calmly rebuilt a 62-56 lead with 4 minutes left.
Warhawk senior guard Malia Smith then jumped a pass at half court and converted the breakaway layup to cut it to 4.
But that was as close as Whitewater would get as Gustavus Adolphus scored 14 of the final 16 points in the remaining three minutes to close out the game in style. The stunned Warhawks watched silently as the Golden Gusties celebrated their victory.
“The last four years have been an unbelievable ride,” Trewyn said. It’s lousy to see it end now, but it’s awesome to see the amount of success that we had and for us to achieve the goals we had is awesome.”
Trewyn and the Warhawks fell just one goal short of making their first Sweet 16 since the 2013-2014 season.