Not many people thought the UW-Superior Women’s Basketball team would be competing for the WIAC tournament championship this season. After a convincing victory over UW-Whitewater, in Whitewater, Wis. the Lady Yellowjackets headed to UW-Oshkosh to do battle with the Titans.
After losing to the Titans twice in the regular season, the Lady Yellowjackets were confident that the statement “It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season” would come to fruition. Unfortunately, it didn’t. The Lady Yellowjackets held the lead throughout most of the first half, but could never grow their lead to more than five points as UW-Oshkosh kept it close before taking over in the second half. The game featured 13 lead changes and 11 ties, which is a significant amount in a basketball game.
UW-Oshkosh came out of the gates strong at the start of the second half, scoring the eight of the first 11 points. From the 19-minute mark of the second half it was back and forth, which included an over three-minute mark where no team scored a single point. UW-Oshkosh finally stretched their lead to six points on a pair of free-throws by Sarah Stecker with 8:30 left in the game. The Lady Yellowjackets were held scoreless over the next three minutes, until senior guard Britnee Blake hit a three-pointer to cut the UW-Oshkosh lead to six points with just over five minutes remaining.
But UW-Oshkosh held the Lady Yellowjackets at arm’s length for the rest of the game, hitting free-throw after free-throw when it mattered most. UW-Oshkosh held on to beat UW-Superior, 75-69 to win their second WIAC tournament championship and earn an automatic bid to the Division III NCAA Tournament. Freshman guard Brynn Liljander led the Yellowjackets with 21 points (4-7 from three) and Sally Linzmeier scored 20 points. Blake, playing in her final college game, drilled four three-pointers en route to 12 points. UW-Oshkosh was led by Katelyn Kuehl, who scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
With the loss, UW-Superior’s season comes to an end. But it’s not a forgettable season. Perhaps it was even more memorable than last year’s season in which the Lady Yellowjackets set numerous school records (such as wins in a season with 19) and hosting a home playoff game for the first time in school history. With only Blake graduating, UW-Superior looks to be right in the thick of the conference race again next season.