Camri Conley hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer to lift UW-Whitewater past previously unbeaten UW-Oshkosh, 54-52, in a battle of nationally ranked women's basketball teams during the WIAC opener on Wednesday (Jan. 3) in Whitewater.
UW-Whitewater (11-1, 1-0 WIAC), ranked 12th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, faced a 52-47 deficit with 51 seconds to play after UW-Oshkosh's Chloe Pustina knocked down a 3-pointer and split a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions.
Brooke Trewyn converted two free throws to pull the Warhawks within 52-49 with 46 seconds to go. Olivia Campbell missed a pair of free throws on the ensuing UW-Oshkosh possession, and UW-Whitewater's Malia Smith completed a three-point play to tie the score at 52 with 34 seconds left.
Conley then blocked an attempted 3-pointer by UW-Oshkosh's Emma Melotik with seven seconds remaining. The Warhawks collected the rebound and called timeout with 3.8 seconds left, setting up Conley's game-winning shot from the right side as time expired. Conley inbounded the ball to the top of the key, received a return pass in the right corner, pump-faked, dribbled once toward the basket along the baseline and drained a 15-foot jumper.
Third-ranked UW-Oshkosh (10-1, 0-1 WIAC), which was among the last nine unbeaten teams in the country, trailed for just two minutes, eight seconds the entire game on Wednesday – all during the second half.
Smith led UW-Whitewater with 11 points while Andrea Meinert added 10 points, three assists, three blocks and two steals.
Olivia Freckmann recorded nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds off the UW-Whitewater bench. She was credited with the rebound on Conley's blocked shot as well as the assist on Conley's game-winning jumper.
Trewyn chipped in eight points for the Warhawks, who also received seven points apiece from Conley and Beck Deichl.
Eliza Campbell paced UW-Oshkosh with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two steals. She matched her career best in rebounds and established a new high in blocks on the way to recording her third career double-double.
Isabella Samuels had 11 points and six rebounds, including five on the offensive end, for the Titans while Melanie Schneider contributed nine points in a reserve role for UW-Oshkosh. Pustina ended the game with six points and a team-leading three assists.
UW-Whitewater owned advantages in field goal percentage (.386 to .364), assists (12-7), turnovers (15-7), blocks (6-5) and steals (5-4). The Warhawks shot just 11.1 percent (1-9) from 3-point range and were outrebounded, 45-31.
UW-Oshkosh was held to its lowest scoring output, field goal percentage and assist total of the season while matching its highest turnover total. The Titans went into the game leading the country in turnovers per game (8.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.26) while listing second nationally in scoring defense (43.0), average rebounding margin (+39.2) and field goal percentage (.485).
Eliza Campbell hit a 3-pointer 18 seconds into the game and another long-range jumper less than two minutes later as UW-Oshkosh scored the first six points and maintained a lead for the remainder of the first half.
The Titans extended their lead to 12-4 on a pair of free throws from Schneider at the 3:06 mark of the first quarter before UW-Whitewater trimmed its deficit to 14-10 after one period.
A jumper by Pustina gave UW-Oshkosh its largest lead at 24-14 with 5:34 left in the second quarter. Conley sank a 3-pointer to pull the Warhawks within 27-25 late in the first half, but a layup by Eliza Campbell provided the Titans a 29-25 advantage at intermission.
UW-Whitewater claimed its first lead of the game at 30-29 on a Freckmann free throw midway through the third quarter. The Warhawks held their largest advantage at 34-31 with 3:24 remaining in the third period, but the Titans scored the last five points of the stanza for a 36-34 edge heading into the final quarter.
Eliza Campbell converted a three-point play with 7:24 left that gave UW-Oshkosh a 41-40 lead it wouldn't relinquish until Conley's basket at the buzzer.
UW-Oshkosh hosts UW-La Crosse on Saturday (Jan. 6) in Kolf Sports Center.
Photo courtesy of D3Photography.com