Panthers Get Balance In 70-64 Win At Wright State
DAYTON, Ohio (Feb. 14, 2009) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team had four players score in double-figures and shot nearly 56 percent from the field in defeating Wright State, 70-64, Saturday evening at the Nutter Center.
The Panthers (11-13, 6-7 Horizon) alternated wins and losses for the 10th-straight game and moved into a sixth-place tie with the Raiders (10-14, 6-7 Horizon).
"I am so proud of this basketball team," Milwaukee head coach Sandy Botham said. "They played with great focus and concentration for 40 minutes. It was a pleasure to be a part of it. We accomplished our goals. Our goal was to get to the free throw line 20 times because we knew they would be aggressive. We were equally aggressive and attacked the basket. We wanted to outrebound them and we controlled the glass extremely well and got some big defensive boards down the stretch, which, in games past, we gave up."
Senior Traci Edwards scored a game-high 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting, making her final 10 attempts, while she pulled down eight rebounds. Senior Turquoise McCain had 15 points, while sophomore Ashley Imperiale finished with 11 and sophomore Lindsay Laur 10 to go with nine rebounds.
"Our goal was to have four players in double figures," Botham said. "We talked about how we had to have everyone looking to be scorers. Turquoise McCain played extremely well. I'm proud of her and her leadership and how determined she was. I thought Traci played a great game."
Kanisha Ward led four WSU players in double-digits with 14 points, while Ta-Myra Davis and Molly Fox scored 11 points apiece.
After opening the game cold from the field, Milwaukee re-gained its shooting touch by going inside. It shot 55.8 percent, attempting just six 3-pointers, and finished with 36 points in the paint. The Panthers also drew 27 fouls, leading to 34 free throw tries, of which they made 21.
The Raiders shot 42.1 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from three-point range and made 10-of-16 free throws. The two teams combined on 58 turnovers in the first meeting, but just 28 Saturday. UWM had 16 miscues, but 18 assists, while WSU had an assist-to-turnover ration of 19:12.
"We simplified our offense. We eliminated a lot of passing, to be honest," Botham said. "We put them in positions where they could just catch and shoot. I think that really made a difference. They were fronting us on the block and we exploited that by overloading and getting the ball into Traci, where there was no help. I thought that was a big difference."
A 13-2 Panther run early in the second half nearly put the game away, with them holding a 49-36 lead with 11:59 to play. Wright State then rattled off 11-straight points to make it a one-possession game, but Imperiale ended the run with UWM's lone three-pointer of the game and the Raiders would not get within four the rest of the way.
"(Ashley's three-pointer) was huge. We made the play. Everybody took a sigh of relief," Botham said. "We talked about imposing our will. In a timeout we said, `They are imposing their will on us, but we have to get it back. We have to get our poise back.' That's when I think she hit that three. If we hit our free throws down the stretch, I think it's a 15-point game. I thought it was a (winning by) 15-20 point performance."
Milwaukee hit just two of its first 11 shot attempts to stake the Raiders a 14-5 near the midway point of the first half before catching fire. The Panthers finished the half hitting 10 of their final 14 shots to take a 30-26 lead into the locker room.
A 10-2 run pulled UWM within one at 16-15, before eventually taking its first lead at 21-20 with 3:29 to play. Both teams traded the lead back and forth before McCain hit a free throw to tie the game at 26-26. After an Edwards lay-up, McCain was fouled at the halftime buzzer and sank both charity tosses to make it a 30-26 halftime advantage.
The Panthers shot 48 percent in the half and got to the free throw 10 times, making six. They also outrebounded the home team, 19-15, but committed two more turnovers, 10-8. WSU shot 40.7 percent, but make just 2-of-6 from the free throw line.
UWM returns home for their its home games of the regular season, hosting Loyola Thursday and UIC Saturday.