Karsyn Rueth led all players with a career-high 15 points as the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team never trailed on the way to defeating UW-River Falls, 70-42, on Saturday (Jan. 12) in River Falls.
UW-Oshkosh (14-1, 4-0 WIAC), ranked 15th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, owned leads of 16-7 after the first quarter, 39-22 at intermission and 51-30 entering the final period en route to winning its eighth straight meeting with the Falcons. The Titans remain alone atop the conference standings.
The Titans, off to a 4-0 league start for the third time in the past five seasons, have limited 11 of their last 14 opponents to less than 49 points. UW-Oshkosh went into Saturday with the second-best scoring defense in the country by allowing just 46.3 points per game. Only the United States Merchant Marine Academy (N.Y.) women's team, a Division III member allowing an average of 42.5 points per contest, had a better scoring defense among the NCAA's 2,159 total men's and women's basketball programs across all three divisions this season.
Rueth, the Titans' 10th different leading scorer this season, surpassed her previous career high of 14 points by connecting on 6 of 9 shots from the field and both free throws in just 13 minutes.
UW-Oshkosh, which improved its road record to 5-0 on the season, featured 14 scorers as all 19 Titans received playing time.
Leah Porath contributed eight points and five rebounds for the Titans, who also got seven points from reserve Isabella Samuels, and six points and a game-high 10 rebounds from starter Melanie Schneider. UW-Oshkosh's Olivia Campbell dished out a game-high six assists and grabbed four rebounds.
The Titans concluded the game shooting 50 percent (25-50) from the floor, 29.4 percent (5-17) from 3-point range and 65.2 percent (15-23) at the free throw line. UW-Oshkosh owned advantages of 42-24 in rebounds, 16-8 in assists, 13-14 in turnovers, 8-3 in steals and 4-1 in blocks. In addition to scoring defense, the Titans also entered the contest leading the WIAC in average scoring margin (+22.4), made 3-pointers (110), turnovers per game (13.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.18).
UW-River Falls (7-8, 1-3 WIAC), which matched its lowest scoring output of the season, shot 34 percent (17-50) from the field, 16.7 percent (3-18) from behind the 3-point arc and 55.6 percent (5-9) at the foul line. The Falcons were also held to season lows in made 3-pointers, 3-point percentage, free throw attempts and makes, rebounds, steals, and blocks.
Lori Wardynski paced the Falcons with 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench.
UW-River Falls starter Jenna Zeman had nine points as the Falcon starting lineup was limited to 17 total points on 7-for-30 (.233) shooting from the floor and nine rebounds in 128 combined minutes.
UW-Oshkosh never looked back after opening the scoring on a layup by Porath 68 seconds into the game. Nikki Arneson later sank a 3-pointer to extend the Titans' advantage to 13-4 with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter.
The Titans scored 12 unanswered points for a 28-8 lead midway through the second period and led by double figures for the final 29 minutes of the contest. Porath and Rueth sparked UW-Oshkosh's 12-0 run with back-to-back layups. Rueth and Schneider both hit 3-pointers during the surge before Samuels gave the Titans a 30-10 lead with a pair of free throws at the 4:50 mark of the second quarter.
UW-Oshkosh tallied nine straight points during a stretch of more than three minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters to up its lead to 57-30 following a layup from Jessie Rabas. A Rueth layup gave the Titans their largest lead of 29 points at 62-33 with 5:24 to play.
UW-Oshkosh hosts defending WIAC champion UW-Whitewater on Wednesday (Jan. 16) in Kolf Sports Center.
Photo by Steve Frommell, D3Photography.com