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Third-Quarter Scoring Run Helps Titans Corral Pointers

Chloe Pustina tallied 11 points against UW-Stevens Point for her third double-digit scoring game of the season.
Chloe Pustina tallied 11 points against UW-Stevens Point for her third double-digit scoring game of the season.

Isabella Samuels matched her career high with 16 points and Chloe Pustina added 11 as the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team used a long second-half scoring run to pull away for a 66-43 victory over UW-Stevens Point on Wednesday (Jan. 9) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Oshkosh (13-1, 3-0 WIAC), ranked 15th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, went on a 20-2 run in the third quarter for a 46-28 lead and owned at least a 10-point advantage for the final 14:31 of the contest.

UW-Stevens Point (5-9, 1-2 WIAC) tied the score at 26 at the 9:04 mark of the third period but shot just 30.8 percent (4-13) from the field and committed 13 turnovers while being outscored, 40-17, over the last 19 minutes.

The Titans, who are now alone atop the conference standings, defeated the Pointers for the eighth time in the last nine meetings and extended their home winning streak to seven games.

Samuels, who scored 16 points for the fifth time in her four-year career, shot 8-for-10 from the floor in 15 minutes off the bench while Pustina registered the 11th double-digit scoring performance of her career.

Melanie Schneider added nine points, five rebounds and three assists for the Titans, who also received seven points from Jessie Rabas and five points each from Olivia Campbell, Karsyn Rueth and Erin Vande Zande. Campbell chipped in a season-high five steals, three assists and two blocks.

The Titans had 10 scorers, including Leah Porath with four points, five rebounds and a team-leading four assists. UW-Oshkosh's Nikki Arneson pulled down a team-high seven rebounds in 11 minutes off the bench.

UW-Oshkosh shot 46.3 percent (25-54) from the field, 46.7 percent (7-15) from 3-point range and 69.2 percent (9-13) at the free throw line. The Titans held advantages of 30-29 in rebounds, 19-11 in assists, 13-23 in turnovers and 14-3 in steals.

The Titans, who held their 10th opponent to less than 49 points this season, entered the game ranked fifth nationally by allowing just 46.5 points per game. UW-Oshkosh was also leading the WIAC in turnovers per game (13.4), made 3-pointers (103), average scoring margin (+22.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16).

UW-Stevens Point shot 40 percent (16-40) from the floor, 13.3 percent (2-15) from beyond the 3-point arc and 69.2 percent (9-13) from the foul line. The Pointers have connected on just 3 of 27 3-point attempts (.111) over their last two games.

UW-Stevens Point's Bailee Collins led all players with 19 points and nine rebounds.

Brooke Grier chipped in nine points and five rebounds for the Pointers while Kellan Schmidt had five points, three rebounds and a game-high six assists.

UW-Stevens Point reserves contributed just six points on 1-for-10 shooting from the floor. The UW-Oshkosh bench accounted for 32 points on 14-for-30 shooting from the field, 13 rebounds and seven assists as all 19 Titans received playing time.

UW-Stevens Point claimed its lone lead of the game at 4-3 following a layup from Carly Cerrato with 7:11 to play in the opening quarter. The Titans answered with the next seven points, including six in a row by Samuels, and never trailed after Schneider split a pair of free throws to tie the score at 4 with 6:49 remaining in the opening period.

A layup from Samuels extended UW-Oshkosh's lead to 21-11 midway through the second quarter, but UW-Stevens Point cut its deficit to 26-24 at intermission. The Pointers' 13-5 run to close the half featured seven points from Geier and six by Collins.

UW-Stevens Point knotted the score at 26 less than a minute into the second half on a layup from Collins before UW-Oshkosh put the game away with its 20-2 run that spanned more than seven minutes. Porath gave the Titans the lead for good at 28-26 with a layup at the 7:31 mark of the third period. Pustina then drained a pair of 3-pointers and Samuels scored a basket in the lane to increase UW-Oshkosh's advantage to 36-26.

The Titans then capped their decisive 20-2 run with another 10 points in a row, which included 3-pointers from Pustina and Rabas, for a 46-28 lead with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter. UW-Stevens Point missed a pair of free throws, shot 1-for-3 from the field and committed five turnovers during UW-Oshkosh's 20-2 surge.

UW-Oshkosh, which went on to lead by at least 14 points for the entire fourth quarter, built its largest lead of 25 points at 66-41 following two free throws from Brooklyn Bull with 1:51 left.

UW-Stevens Point is the last team to beat UW-Oshkosh in Kolf Sports Center. The Pointers won the previous meeting between the teams, 60-52, on Feb. 14, 2018.

UW-Oshkosh travels to UW-River Falls on Saturday (Jan. 12).

Photo courtesy of Steve Frommell, D3Photography.com