Defense Keys Milwaukee To 68-48 Victory Over Omaha
Jan. 5, 2014
OMAHA, Neb. - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team overcame an 11-point first-half deficit and the defense recorded season-highs of 13 steals and 23 forced turnovers in claiming a 68-48 victory over the University of Nebraska Omaha Sunday at Sapp Fieldhouse.
The Panthers (4-9) used a dominant second half to earn the win, handing the Mavericks (8-6) their first loss at home this season following a 6-0 start and also snapped their five-game overall winning streak in the process.
"This is a really big win for us," UWM head coach Kyle Rechlicz said. "I think Omaha is a great team and I think that they will do very well in their league. We were very excited to come in here and get this win today."
Sophomore Avyanna Young recorded her third-straight double-double for the Panthers, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Bre'Zall Warren was also in double-figures, ending the afternoon with 11 points in addition to grabbing four rebounds.
"Avyanna is one of those players that doesn't get all of the credit all of the time," Rechlicz said. "She is a steady double-double for us, which, for most teams would be incredible but for us is an expectation. We expect her to get a double-double ... we need her to get a double-double for us to be successful and she's done an amazing job of it so far."
Ericka House finished with 18 points, including the first 10 of the game for the Mavs, but had just four after halftime.
Milwaukee finished the day with the season-highs of 13 steals, more than twice its previous best of six, and 23 forced turnovers, which eclipsed the 20 forced against Drake last week. The defense also held Omaha to 27.6 percent shooting in the second half after it hit half of its shots in the first 20 minutes.
"I felt our players really locked in to our game plan defensively," Rechlicz said. "I felt like our team had an incredible amount of energy from the bench, to the people out on the court, and I feel like we willed ourselves to a win today."
After tying the game at 30-30 just before halftime, the Panthers continued to use that great defense to build their lead, holding Omaha without a made field goal for a stretch of almost eight minutes spanning both halves. UWM would lead by seven at 39-32 on a layup by Young at the 14:25 mark.
From there, the Mavs fought back and trimmed the margin to two at 39-37 before the Panthers took off. They would build the first double-digit lead on a pair of Rodriguez free throws and use an 11-2 run to take a 50-39 advantage with 7:12 to go. From there, UWM would go on to score 18 of the final 27 points of the game to earn the impressive victory.
It was an up-and-down first half for Milwaukee, with the defense saving the day through the first 20 minutes. With the game tied, 7-7, the Panthers went ice cold from the floor, struggling through a 10-minute stretch where they made just one field goal on 19 attempts and fell behind 21-10 after the Mavericks scored 14 of the 17 points in the stretch.
But, UWM put up a strong rally the final 6:48, getting stop after stop on defense - forcing 15 first-half turnovers - and using a quick 10-2 scoring run to get back into the game. Warren topped off that rally, with her three-pointer at the 1:00 mark giving Milwaukee the 30-29 advantage.
Milwaukee ended the day at 39 percent (23-of-59) from the field, adding an impressive 15-of-18 showing from the free throw line.
Up next, the Panthers open Horizon League play with a stiff test, heading to defending league champion Green Bay Saturday for a matinee contest tipping off at 1 p.m.