UW-W Women’s Basketball Falls in Elite 8

The Warhawk faithful cheer in the background after Kacie Carollo hit a three-pointer against Transylvania (Craig Schreiner)

By Angela Kelm
Asst. Athletic Director for Sports Information

 The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s phenomenal season came to a close in the Elite 8 Saturday following a 62-48 loss to undefeated Transylvania University. 

The Warhawk faithful showed up in droves and provided a fantastic atmosphere in Kachel Gymnasium for the game Saturday night. As the contest got underway, it was clear the first half was going to be a defensive battle from the opening tip. The stifling defenses on both sides limited scoring through the first two quarters and kept the game close. 

Late in the first, Lunden Alexander knocked down a triple that gave UWW a 12-9 advantage with 3:29 left. The Pioneers hit a layup at the 1:54 mark for the last bucket of the period.

The second quarter went back-and-forth until TU went on a 7-2 run to open up a six-point lead, 22-16, halfway through the period. The Warhawks responded on both sides – the offense put up seven points including four from Aleah Grundahl and another three from Alexander, while the defense blanked the Pioneers for the final 5:46 of the quarter. That 7-0 run gave UW-Whitewater all the momentum heading into the break despite the one-point difference, 23-22. 

A big third quarter run for Transylvania saw the Pioneers build a double figure margin by the midway point. The Warhawks refused to fold and went on a tear late in the quarter. With the score 42-29 in favor of TU, Kacie Carollo fed Grundahl on a beautiful pass for the layin. A quick Pioneer turnover gave the Warhawks the ball under their own basket and Carollo capitalized drilling a three-pointer in the corner in front of the UWW bench. The play was a perfect catch and shoot off the inbounds pass from Renee Rittmeyer and the crowd erupted. 

Less than 30 seconds later, Carollo struck again from long range to cut the margin to five. On the other end, Carollo hauled in a defensive board, one of her nine on the night, and pushed the pace up the court. The ball found its way into Katie Hildebrandt’s hands, and she knocked down a jumper to send Kachel into pandemonium as the UWW had cut the lead to three, 42-39, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the quarter. With all of the momentum going the Warhawks’ way, Transylvania called a timeout. Following the break in action, the Pioneers got off a last second shot to push the lead back to five, 44-39, by the end of the third. 

The margin was still at five at the 6:17 mark in the fourth before Transylvania hit a couple of big shots and the Warhawk offense went cold. TU hit a three and a layup while UWW had multiple shots circle the rim and pop out. The swing had Pioneer advantage back into double digits with less than four to play. The Warhawks were forced to foul, but TU hit their free throws down the stretch for the final. 

Grundahl led UWW with 17 points on 6-12 from the floor. She added six rebounds and tallied three blocks. Hildebrandt posted 10 points while Carollo went 9-9-7 in scoring, rebounds and assists respectively.  

The Warhawks closed the 2023-24 campaign with a 25-5 mark after making the team’s 22nd appearance in the NCAA tournament and fifth trip to the Elite 8.

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