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WHITEWATER

UW-Whitewater senior guard Becky Raeder briefly pulled her headband over her eyes during the Warhawks’ game with UW-Oshkosh on Thursday night.

Raeder probably needed the momentary escape after a frustrating evening of basketball.

Oshkosh outscored Whitewater 35-17 in the final 13 minutes of the first half and led by as many as 26 points in the second before posting an 81-65 victory in a WIAC Tournament semifinal game at Kachel Gymnasium.

The Titans will take on UW-Eau Claire in the WIAC championship game Saturday with an automatic NCAA Division III Tournament berth at stake.

Whitewater, meanwhile, will try to forget the tough loss while waiting for the DIII field to be announced Monday.

The Warhawks, who won the regular-season conference championship and were the top-ranked team in the most recent Central Regional rankings, will likely earn an at-large bid.

“I think it was a little bit in the back of the players’ heads that they feel pretty confident about getting a bid, so I think there wasn’t that same level of urgency that Oshkosh had to win this game,” Carollo said. “We get an extra day of rest to get us ready.”

“Sometimes we’ve been in a situation like this in past years and it’s been a blessing because we don’t have to play another conference game against a team that we’ve already played twice.”

It certainly wasn’t easy having to play the Titans—who handed Whitewater its only league loss in the regular season—a third time.

After Whitewater jumped out to an 18-13 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter, Oshkosh guard Katie Ludwig drained three 3-pointers to help the Titans grab a 24-21 lead.

The Titans eventually sank 8 of their first 16 3-point attempts in the first half and seized control of the game with a 48-35 halftime lead.

“We didn’t play team defense like we normally do,” said sophomore Veronica Kieres, who equaled forward Johanna Taylor with a team-high 11 points. “We usually look for our defense to help us in games and push it through on offense, but they weren’t missing tonight, which didn’t give us many opportunities to get a rebound and go.”

Whitewater’s defensive struggles seemingly carried over to the offense that shot just 32% from the field, including 4-for-16 from 3-point territory.

“We always say you can’t let one end of the court affect the other end,” Raeder said. “I think we really let their hot shooting get to us, because we were throwing up shots with 5 seconds left on the shot clock and settling for 3s and not getting in the post.

“So we were just really in our heads.”

The Titans continued the mind games in the second half, building their lead to as many as 26. Whitewater used a full-court press to cut the deficit to 16 but could never drew closer.

“This loss doesn’t define us,” Raeder said. “Coach told us in the locker room that we can’t let one game define us.”

UW-OSHKOSH 81, WIS.-WHITEWATER 65

UW-OSHKOSH (17-10,8-6 WIAC)

Porath, Leah 7-17 7-9 22; Ludwig, Katie 5-7 1-1 15; Arneson, Nikki 4-11 4-6 13; Miller, Emily 3-5 2-2 8; Freitag, Brooke 1-5 5-6 8; Campbell, Olivia 1-1 4-6 6; Rueth, Karsyn 2-6 0-0 6; Staples, Claire 1-1 1-2 3; Higgins, Emily 0-0 0-0 0; Grade, Maci 0-0 0-0 0; Peplinski, Mattea 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-53 24-32 81.

UW-WHITEWATER (23-3,13-1 WIAC)

Taylor, Johanna 3-8 5-5 11; Kieres, Veronica 4-13 2-4 11; Grundahl, Aleah 4-7 1-2 9; Belschner, Abby 4-10 0-0 8; Schumacher, Rebekah 2-9 2-2 7; Corcoran, Megan 1-5 2-2 5; Oomens, Courtney 2-6 1-2 5; Raeder, Becky 2-8 0-0 5; Sto. Domingo, Yssa 0-2 2-2 2; Czarnecki, Kenni 1-1 0-0 2; Simmons, Erika 0-0 0-0 0; Green, Adriana 0-2 0-0 0; Ketz, Kailey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-71 15-19 65.

UW-Oshkosh 24 24 17 16—81

Wis.-Whitewater 21 14 10 20—65

3-point goals—UW-Oshkosh 9-24 (Ludwig, Katie 4-6; Rueth, Karsyn 2-5; Porath, Leah 1-3; Arneson, Nikki 1-5; Freitag, Brooke 1-4; Miller, Emily 0-1), Wis.-Whitewater 4-16 (Corcoran, Megan 1-3; Schumacher, Rebekah 1-6; Raeder, Becky 1-4; Kieres, Veronica 1-2; Sto. Domingo, Yssa 0-1). Fouled out—UW-Oshkosh-None, Wis.-Whitewater-Schumacher, Rebekah. Rebounds—UW-Oshkosh 39 (Campbell, Olivia 7), Wis.-Whitewater 44 (Kieres, Veronica 8). Assists—UW-Oshkosh 14 (Campbell, Olivia 6), Wis.-Whitewater 10 (Sto. Domingo, Yssa 3). Total fouls—UW-Oshkosh 13, Wis.-Whitewater 26. Technical fouls—UW-Oshkosh-None, Wis.-Whitewater-None. A-278.

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