Leah Porath had a team-leading 19 points, Karsyn Rueth scored all of her career-best 18 points after halftime and the UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team defeated UW-Stevens Point, 64-59, Wednesday (Jan. 22) in Stevens Point.
UW-Oshkosh (10-7, 3-3 WIAC) never looked back after reclaiming a 10-9 lead in the final seconds of the first quarter. The Titans scored 14 unanswered points during a stretch of more than seven minutes spanning the first and second periods, turning a 9-8 deficit with 79 seconds left in the opening quarter into a 22-9 lead with under four minutes to play in the second.
UW-Stevens Point (7-10, 2-4 WIAC) pulled within 43-41 with 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but Rueth and Porath combined to score each of the Titans' 18 points during the fourth quarter as UW-Oshkosh held a lead of least five points after Porath's layup provided a 57-52 advantage with three minutes left.
The Titans have now won their past three meetings with UW-Stevens Point and 10 of the last 11 in the series. The Pointers have not won at home over UW-Oshkosh since a 54-47 decision Jan. 10, 2015.
Porath, the WIAC's leading scorer at 19.2 points per game, shot 8-for-19 from the field and tied for the team lead with five rebounds and two steals. Porath, who has scored in double figures each of the last 21 games, went 2-for-6 from 3-point range after entering the day pacing the league with a .464 percentage from beyond the arc.
Rueth scored six points in the third quarter before exploding for 12 during the final period en route to eclipsing her previous career high of 17 points established in a 63-45 victory at UW-Platteville on Jan. 8. Rueth finished Wednesday's game shooting 5-for-11 from the floor, including 5-for-9 from beyond the 3-point arc, and 3-for-4 at the free throw line in 20 minutes off the Titan bench. Rueth, whose career-high five made 3-pointers are tied with Porath for the most by a Titan this season, is 9-for-15 from beyond the arc over the past three games.
Nikki Arneson had 11 points, five rebounds and a team-best four assists for UW-Oshkosh, which also received six points apiece from Jenna Jorgensen and Emily Miller. Arneson produced her fourth straight double-digit scoring effort while Jorgensen's point total matched her season high.
The Titans' Olivia Campbell, the conference leader with a 2.26 assist-to-turnover ratio, dished out three assists without committing a turnover in a team-high 36 minutes played.
UW-Oshkosh went 24 of 59 (.407) from the field, 10 of 26 (.385) from 3-point range and 6-for-9 (.667) at the free throw line. The Titans owned advantages of 35-29 in rebounds, 15-12 in assists, 7-6 in steals and 13-15 in turnovers after heading into the contest leading the NCAA Division III with 11.1 turnovers per game and ranking ninth in the country with a 1.18 assist-to-turnover ratio. UW-Oshkosh made at least 10 3-pointers in a contest for the second time this season.
The Titans' 10 made 3-pointers are tied for the second most allowed by a UW-Stevens Point squad that led the WIAC in 3-point percentage defense at .251 this season before Wednesday.
UW-Stevens Point shot 46 percent (23-50) from the floor, 40 percent (6-15) from beyond the 3-point arc and 77.8 percent (7-9) at the foul line. The Pointers, who went into the night with a WIAC-high 337 free throw attempts and 245 made free throws, tied a season-low in made free throws and set a new low in attempted free throws as UW-Oshkosh was whistled for a mere 13 fouls.
Bailee Collins paced UW-Stevens Point with 19 points off the bench on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor.
UW-Stevens Point starters Amber Baehman and Carly Cerrato had 13 and 11 points, respectively. Baehman grabbed a game-high nine rebounds while Cerrato led all players with six assists and three steals.
The Pointers' Taylor Greenheck, the conference leader with 64 made free throws, was held to four points, seven rebounds and zero free throw attempts.
UW-Oshkosh scored the first five points of the game on a three-point play from Brooke Freitag during the game's opening possession and an Arneson layup nearly four minutes later as UW-Stevens Point missed its first four field goal attempts and committed a pair of turnovers until Greenheck scored in the lane to cut the Pointers' deficit to 5-2 at the 5:27 mark of the first quarter.
Cerrato capped an 8-0 Pointer run with a 3-pointer that provided UW-Stevens Point its initial lead at 8-5. Jessica Slowik later split two free throws that gave the Pointers their final advantage at 9-8 before Arneson finished her seven-point opening period with an offensive rebound and layup for a 10-9 Titan lead they would not relinquish with 10 ticks left.
Arneson's rebound and put-back began a string of 14 unanswered UW-Oshkosh points that continued with 3-pointers from Porath and Jorgensen, another Arneson layup and a Porath jumper ahead of Miller's basket in the lane that extended the Titans' lead to 22-9 at the 5:16 mark of the second quarter.
UW-Stevens Point finally ended its scoreless drought of 7:36 spanning the opening two quarters when Jaime Pfeifer completed a three-point play that trimmed its deficit to 22-12 with 3:43 remaining until halftime.
After taking a 29-20 lead into intermission, UW-Oshkosh increased its advantage to 33-22 before the Pointers pulled within 43-41 following a Collins free throw with 29 seconds to go in the third quarter. However, Rueth drilled her second 3-pointer of the period 23 seconds later for a 46-41 UW-Oshkosh advantage entering the final period.
Rueth then accounted for each of UW-Oshkosh's first nine points of the fourth quarter, hitting a trio of 3-pointers to build the Titans' lead back to 55-43 with 6:14 to play.
UW-Stevens Point clawed to within 55-52 with four minutes left and missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 3:19 to go. Porath then sank a jumper on the ensuing Titan possession, and UW-Oshkosh led by at least five points for the final three minutes of the contest.
UW-Oshkosh returns home to host conference leader and nationally ranked UW-Whitewater on Saturday (Jan. 25) in Kolf Sports Center. The Warhawks (16-1, 6-0 WIAC), winners of 14 consecutive games, are ranked sixth in the country by D3hoops.com.