With the clock ticking below 15 seconds and a bit of history on the line, Brooke Trewyn took a chance.
Her coach, Keri Carollo, had seen her swipe at the ball on defense plenty of times before. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
This time, Trewyn’s gamble paid off. She snared a steal and called timeout with 10.9 seconds remaining, helping UW-Whitewater’s women’s basketball team preserve a 68-65 victory over visiting UW-Oshkosh in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship game at Kachel Gymnasium.
The Warhawks, who were already a virtual lock to make the Division III NCAA Tournament when the field is announced Monday, officially clinched an automatic berth and improved to 24-3 this year. And they swept the WIAC regular-season and tournament titles for the first time in program history.
“It’s so hard to do,” Carollo said of pulling of the title sweep. “It’s tremendous, and it’s great for this group, because they started out .500 their freshman year.”
UW-W’s three seniors once again played pivotal roles against the Titans (24-3). Point guard Malia Smith finished with eight points and two steals, playing a team-high 38 minutes, while Andrea Meinert scored 10 points, one of four Warhawks in double figures.
But it was Trewyn, a Whitewater native who finished with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists, whose defensive play at the end stood out most.
“She’s actually done that a couple times this year, where she’s come up with big plays,” Carollo said.
“But she’s also been on the bad end of that, too, where she’s fought for a steal or tried to make a big play defensively and it’s not worked in our favor.
“Sometimes you’ve got to have a little luck. … But she’s relentless.”
Leading 67-65 in the final minute, Trewyn had just been part of a play where the Warhawks turned the ball over on an errant inbound pass.
Oshkosh called timeout to set up a play to tie or take the lead, but Trewyn stuck her hand in as a Titans player dribbled near the 3-point line on the left wing. She then hit the floor, clutching the ball and calling timeout.
“I just knew we had to get the ball back (because) it was kind of mine and Andrea’s fault for turning it over,” Trewyn said. “She was dribbling the ball out a little bit too far, so I just tried to get my hand on it. I did, which was awesome.
“It was 50-50. I was either going to get it or get blown by. It was a little bit risky, but I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”
Smith hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it a three-point game, and the Titans’ long look at a 3-pointer in the final seconds caromed off the backboard and rim.
It put an end to an exciting, back-and-forth game.
UW-W led by seven points in the first quarter, but most of the game was contested within a single possession.
The game was tied twice, and the lead changed hands five times, the final time coming toward the end of the third quarter when Olivia Freckman—who had 11 points off the bench—drove for a bucket that gave the Warhawks a 54-53 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
That was part of a 10-1 run that helped Whitewater go from down 52-48 to up 58-53 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
UW-Oshkosh was led by Emma Melotik with 16 points.
UW-W junior Sarah Schumacher, also a Whitewater native, finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
The victory was Whitewater’s third against Oshkosh this season.
“We wanted it bad, just because it’s never been done in program history to win both conference and the conference tournament,” said Trewyn, who cut down the net from one basket along with her teammates after the victory. “It’s awesome for us, as a senior class, and also for Coach Carollo. We’ve put in so much work this season just to see it come out like this.”
The Warhawks now await their postseason draw. There’s a strong chance they’ll be right back at Kachel Gym later this week to host NCAA first- and second-round action.
WHITEWATER 68, OSHKOSH 65
Oshkosh (65)—Melotik, 6-8 1-1 16; E. Campbell, 5-12 3-3 13; Pustina, 4-7 0-0 10; Samuels, 4-5 0-0 8; Schneider, 2-4 2-2 7; Staples, 1-4 4-6 6; Pitt, 1-3 3-3 5; Rueth, 0-1 0-0 0; O. Campbell, 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-45 13-15 65.
Whitewater (69)—S. Schumacher, 5-10 2-3 12; Trewyn, 6-9 0-0 12; Freckmann, 4-8 2-2 11; Meinert, 5-11 0-0 10; Conley, 3-8 3-4 9; Smith, 3-9 1-2 8; Raeder, 3-4 0-0 6; Deichl, 0-2 0-0 0; R. Schumacher, 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-61 8-11 68.
Oshkosh 22 14 17 12—65
Whitewater 24 16 14 14—68
3-point goals—Oshkosh 6-16 (Melotik, 3-5; Pustina, 2-3; Schneider, 1-3; Rueth, 0-1; E. Campbell, 0-1; O. Campbell, 0-3), Whitewater 2-6 (Smith, 1-3; Freckmann, 1-1; Trewyn, 0-2). Rebounds—Oshkosh 27 (E. Campbell, 10), Whitewater 30 (S. Schumacher and Meinert, 6 each). Assists—Oshkosh 11 (E.Campbell, 5), Whitewater 8 (Trewyn, 4). Total fouls—Oshkosh 15, Whitewater 14. Attendance-919