WHITEWATER (PRESS RELEASE)– The Pointer women's basketball team overcame a 13 point halftime deficit to capture their third straight Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) tournament title and secured the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament with a 68-64 victory over the Warhawks of UW-Whitewater on Saturday afternoon.
The Pointers led for just two minutes and 37 seconds, but it was the final 2:37 of the game, overcoming a double-digit halftime deficit to capture the league's bid to the big dance.
The first half started rough for the defending tournament champion Pointers, as they turned the ball over on their first six possessions and were in an early 9-0 hole before Liz Althoff put UWSP on the board with a three-point basket at the 15:48 mark of the opening stanza.
The remainder of the opening half was all Whitewater, as the Warhawks shot 48.5 percent from the floor and connected on eight more field goals than the Pointers, including five three-pointers to take a 13 point halftime lead.
In the second half, the Pointers cut the deficit to just four, 41-37, but Whitewater pushed the lead back to double digits at the 12:25 mark, thanks to a 6-0 run.
Not giving up, the Pointers offense came alive, closing out the game on a 21-10 run, taking the lead on a pair of Josi Schultz free-throws and used clutch free-throws by Cassie Bandow, Althoff and a big three-pointer from Bandow to pull away for the four point victory.
Bandow led three Pointers in double figure, scoring 14 on a 4-of-6 performance from the floor. Schultz added 13 and Althoff added 11, both off the bench. Britta Petersen had a team-high eight rebounds and added seven points, four assists, two blocks and two steals before fouling out in the final seconds.
Nicole Bundy led the Warhawks with 24 points. Whitewater (20-7) will now await news of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pointers (21-6) will find out who they will face in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 1.