Panthers Roll Into Quarterfinals With 70-49 Win
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (March 9, 2009) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team jumped out to a 20-6 lead and never looked back in moving past Youngstown State, 70-49, in the 2009 Speedway Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship First Round Monday night at the Klotsche Center.
The seventh-seeded Panthers (13-17) advance to the quarterfinals, where they will take on No. 2 Butler Wednesday in Indianapolis, Ind. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
"We split with Butler this year," UWM head coach Sandy Botham said. "We got them at home and had plenty of chances to beat them at their place. We have a lot of confidence heading down there. We know the potential this team has. The way we played is fresh in our memory. We're going down there with confidence that we can play with them and, hopefully, knock them off."
Senior Traci Edwards led Milwaukee with 17 points and eight rebounds in just 20 minutes. She was 3-for-3 from three-point range to account for all of UWM's three-point makes. Senior Turquoise McCain had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Lindsay Laur also reached double-figures with 13 points to go with seven boards.
"That's where Traci's game has really elevated," Botham said, "her ability to score from the perimeter, as well as with her back to the basket. It's nice to get those shots to fall, for her to get some confidence from that spot going ahead in the tournament."
The Penguins (3-27), who were the 10th seed in the tournament, did not put a player in double-figures and were led by Nikita LaFleur's nine points. Two more YSU players tallied eight points apiece.
UWM went at Youngstown State from the opening tip, taking a 20-6 lead at the 9:14 mark of the first half on a McCain lay-up. Its first half lead would peak at 15 points, at 30-15, and settled at 30-17 at halftime.
The Panthers shot 41.9 percent for the game, while scoring 30 points in the paint and converting 15-of-17 free throws on the night. They also forged a +29 margin on the boards, finishing with 20 offensive rebounds and 59 total boards.
Every Panther that dressed had played by halftime, as Botham wanted to get players rest with a possible tournament schedule of four games in seven days.
"It's nice to get off on the right foot (in the league tournament)," Botham said. "It was a great team effort and we got a lot of people (into the game). It was nice to be able to use a lot of bodies. To make a run in the league tournament, it's going to be a lot of games in a short time."
Despite a starting lineup with four players listed at 6-feet-or-taller, YSU pulled down just 30 rebounds. The Penguins were also held to 29.4 percent shooting, but blocked 10 shots. Youngstown State also won the turnover battle with just 13, compared to 23 by UWM.
"It was just a good team victory," Botham said. "To hold them to 29 percent, I think our defense has come on really strong. We did a lot of good things defensively. We also had a lot of people scoring for us."
The Penguins never relented, despite facing a double-digit deficit for almost the entire second half. They scored the first four points after halftime to make it a nine-point game, but UWM rattled off a 15-2 run to make it 45-23 at 14:19. Milwaukee would eventually go ahead by 23 before coasting to the victory.
Ten different players saw more than 10 minutes of action, with just two eclipsing 21 minutes. Of the 13 that played, 12 pulled down rebounds and nine scored.