By Angela Kelm
Asst. Athletic Director for Sports Information
The No. 10 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women’s basketball team picked up a huge 73-67 comeback win over UW-La Crosse Saturday afternoon. The Warhawks outscored the Eagles 23-10 in the final quarter of the instant classic in Kachel Gymnasium. Senior Aleah Grundahl set the UW-Whitewater single game scoring record with 39 points to lead UWW to the win on senior day.
UWW seniors (L-R: Aleah Grundahl, Lunden Alexander, Kendall Roquet) pose with their families at the halftime recognition Saturday (Olivia Zinanni)
The Warhawks jumped out to a 9-2 lead, bolstered by seven points from Grundahl, just over three minutes into the game. UW-La Crosse whittled away at margin and eventually took the lead courtesy of a pair of three-pointers late in the first quarter.
The Eagles built up an eight-point lead by the 6:35 mark of the second quarter but UWW battled back to pull within two by the break, 40-38.
The third quarter belonged to UWL as the Eagles outscored UWW 17-12 to take a seven-point advantage into the final period. The Warhawks continued to battle putting forth an incredible fourth-quarter effort to come back for the win.
The final 10 minutes went back-and-forth early on with the teams trading runs. UWW used a 7-0 spurt early to cut the lead to two, but the Eagles would extend their advantage back to six, 67-61, with less than four minutes to play. The stifling Warhawk press and defense held UWL scoreless the rest of the way. Although Grundahl had been scoring all game, she took over in the final minutes. The senior knocked down a three, hit a layup, dropped in a pair of free throws and hit a jumper for a 9-0 solo run that gave the Warhawks a 3-0 lead – 70-67 with 1:35 remaining.
After a scoreless minute, UWL was fouled to send Maggie Trautsch to the line. She hit one to extend the gap to 71-67 with 22 seconds on the clock. A miss on the second free throw had the clock running right away and the Eagles bolting down the floor. The three-point heave was no good and Trautsch ran down the defensive board. She was quickly fouled and headed back to the line.
This time UW-La Crosse called timeout after the miss to move the ball into their offensive end with nine seconds left in a four-point game. The Eagles got a shot off with just over three seconds on the clock with Bri McCurdy crashing the glass for a defensive board to all but seal the game with 2.7 left.
UWW called timeout and advanced the ball for an inbounds play in front of their bench. McCurdy took the ball, surveyed and found Grundahl who was quickly fouled. She hit both to seal the game with her second breaking the program’s single game scoring record.
Grundahl’s 39 points surpasses the mark set by Jody Landish (38) that had stood as the UWW record since 1995. That mark is tied for eighth-most in a single game by any player in WIAC history. Grundahl’s 39 came on 11-16 from the floor, 2-4 from beyond the arc and a phenomenal 15-16 from the charity stripe. She added six boards and three steals in the game.
Trautsch was the most active on the glass with 13 rebounds including multiple late-game defensive boards that were integral in the comeback win.
The Warhawk press, especially late in the game, led to a hefty advantage in points off miscues – 20-7 – in favor of UWW.
With just two regular season games remaining, the Warhawks maintain a hold on second place in the WIAC standings with a 9-3 record. UW-Oshkosh leads the league with a 10-2 mark with UW-Platteville standing third at 7-5.