Titans Dominate Battle Of One-Loss Teams

Isabella Samuels scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds during her 13 minutes of action against the Blue Devils.
Isabella Samuels scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds during her 13 minutes of action against the Blue Devils.

The nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team earned a decisive 81-54 victory over UW-Stout behind one of the best shooting performances in program history and a defensive effort that limited the Blue Devils to a season-low score during a showdown of one-loss teams Saturday (Jan. 5) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Oshkosh (12-1, 2-0 WIAC) shot 64.4 percent (29-45) from the field for the fourth best field goal percentage in program history. The Titans were on pace to break the conference record for field goal percentage of .712 through three quarters, connecting on 25 of 35 shots (.714), before going 4-for-10 during the final period.

The Titans, who never trailed after scoring on the game's opening possession, concluded the contest with considerable advantages in rebounds (38-21) and assists (18-9). The Blue Devils collected just 10 total rebounds during the first three quarters.

UW-Oshkosh built leads of 15-5 in the first quarter, 43-23 at intermission and 62-30 during the third period. The Titans led by at least 12 points for the final 24:39 of the game.

Seventeen Titans received playing time and 11 scored as UW-Oshkosh, which extended its home winning streak to six games, picked up its fifth straight win over UW-Stout and 12th in the past 13 meetings.

The Titans have now limited 10 of their 13 opponents to their current lowest scoring output of the season. UW-Oshkosh, allowing 46.5 points per game this season, is on pace to eclipse the program record of 46.9 per contest – the second best in WIAC history – established in 1997-98.

Isabella Samuels and Melanie Schneider paced UW-Oshkosh with 10 points apiece. Samuels, who shot 5-for-6 from the field in 13 minutes off the bench, added a game-high seven rebounds while Schneider scored in double figures for the 16th time in her career.

Nikki Arneson had nine points for the Titans, who also received nine points from Karsyn Rueth and eight from both Olivia Campbell and Erin Vande Zande. Campbell contributed four rebounds, five assists and three steals.

The balanced UW-Oshkosh offense featured seven points apiece from Leah Porath and Chloe Pustina, and six from both Brooke Freitag and Jessie Rabas. Pustina led all players with a career-high seven assists. UW-Oshkosh starters shot 15 of 21 (.714) from the field, and Titan reserves accounted for 40 points and 18 rebounds.

UW-Oshkosh matched its season high with 18 made free throws and 28 attempts from the foul line. The Titans went into the game ranked seventh in the country in scoring defense while leading the WIAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16), average scoring margin (+21.9), 3-pointers (98) and turnovers per contest (13.2).

UW-Stout (11-2, 1-1 WIAC), which entered the contest averaging 70.2 points per game, had a previous season low of 58 points. The Blue Devils, who led the conference with 11.9 steals and 22.1 turnovers forced per contest, owned edges of 12-16 in turnovers, 10-5 in steals and 2-1 in blocks Saturday. UW-Stout's 21 rebounds were its fewest in the 205 games since grabbing just 17 against UW-Oshkosh on Jan. 15, 2011.

The Blue Devils shot 36.2 percent (21-58) from the field, including a season-worst 10 percent (2-20) from 3-point range, and 62.5 percent (10-16) at the free throw line.

Bailey Diersen scored a game-high 17 points for the Blue Devils. She did not attempt a free throw despite heading into the game leading the WIAC with 55 makes and 71 attempts at the foul line.

Kyncaide Diedrich and Shannan Watkins added 14 and 10 points, respectively, for UW-Stout. Diedrich went 5-for-16 from the floor while contributing a team-leading four assists and three steals.

UW-Oshkosh made six field goal attempts in a row – all via layups – en route to its 15-5 lead at the 5:36 mark of the first quarter. Rueth and Schneider both contributed a pair of baskets in the lane during the first three minutes.

Leading 22-15 after the first quarter in which the teams combined to shoot 54.2 percent (13-24) from the floor, UW-Oshkosh blew the game open with a 15-2 run during the final 5:16 of the opening half. Rueth sparked the run with a layup for a 30-21 advantage and Campbell capped the surge with two free throws that provided UW-Oshkosh a 43-23 halftime lead. Vande Zande scored five straight points during the 15-2 run while Pustina and Rabas drained 3-pointers.

UW-Oshkosh then produced a 13-2 run during the third period that culminated in its largest lead of 32 points (62-30) at the 3:14 mark. Arneson had five of the Titans' 13 points during the third-quarter run.

The Titans went on to maintain a lead of at least 26 for the entire fourth quarter.

UW-Oshkosh hosts UW-Stevens Point on Wednesday (Jan. 9) in Kolf Sports Center.

Photo courtesy of Steve Frommell, D3Photography.com