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Warhawks Hand Titans First Conference Setback

Jessie Rabas sparked UW-Oshkosh's second-half play against the Warhawks with six points, two rebounds and two blocked shots.
Jessie Rabas sparked UW-Oshkosh's second-half play against the Warhawks with six points, two rebounds and two blocked shots.

Defending WIAC champion UW-Whitewater hung on for a 49-47 win over the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team as the Titans' potential game-tying layup with two seconds left was off the mark on Wednesday (Jan. 16) in Kolf Sports Center.

UW-Whitewater had a 49-43 lead with 1:44 remaining before UW-Oshkosh's Jessie Rabas hit a 3-pointer and Melanie Schneider split a pair of free throws to pull the Titans within 49-47 with 53 seconds left.

The Titans got the ball back after the Warhawks missed a 3-pointer with 27 seconds to go. However, Schneider drove into the lane and missed a layup through contact with nine seconds left.

UW-Whitewater then called its final timeout to advance the ball to midcourt. As the ensuing inbounds pass was nearing a five-second violation, Warhawk Emily Schumacher's resulting pass was intercepted in stride at midcourt by Schneider, whose layup with two seconds remaining rolled off the back of the rim.

UW-Oshkosh (14-2, 4-1 WIAC), which had its seven-game home winning streak snapped, fell into a tie atop the league standings with 23rd-ranked UW-La Crosse (15-1, 4-1) and UW-Eau Claire (13-3, 4-1).

The Warhawks' Becky Raeder led all players with 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field.

Olivia Freckmann added 10 points and five rebounds for UW-Whitewater, which also received seven points apiece from Schumacher and Megan Corcoran.

Isabella Samuels paced nine UW-Oshkosh scorers with nine points.

Rabas contributed eight points and a game-high three blocks for the Titans while Schneider finished with seven points and 11 rebounds. UW-Oshkosh reserve Karsyn Rueth chipped in seven points.

UW-Whitewater shot 40.8 percent (20-49) from the floor, 21.4 percent (3-14) from 3-point range and 60 percent (6-10) at the free throw line against UW-Oshkosh's defense that entered the game ranked third among all NCAA men's and women's programs by allowing just 46 points per game. The Warhawks went 12-for-23 (.522) from the field during the second half.

UW-Oshkosh, ranked 12th in the NCAA Division III by, was held to season lows in field goal (.294) and 3-point (.158) percentages. The Titans shot 15 of 51 from the floor, 3 of 19 from beyond the 3-point arc and 14 of 24 (.583) at the foul line.

The Titans owned advantages in rebounds (38-32) and turnovers (15-16) while UW-Whitewater held edges in assists (9-7), blocks (7-4) and steals (9-6).

UW-Oshkosh, which held its 12th opponent this season to less than 50 points, went into the game leading the WIAC in average scoring (+22.7) and rebounding (+8.3) margins, turnovers per contest (13.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.18).

UW-Oshkosh never trailed in the opening quarter as the Titans built an 11-6 lead following a free throw from Brooke Freitag with 73 seconds to play in the period.

UW-Whitewater (9-7, 2-3 WIAC), which picked up its fifth consecutive win over the Titans, claimed its first and only lead at 19-17 after a 3-pointer by Corcoran with 1:43 to go in the first half. The Warhawks maintained their two-point lead at intermission as UW-Oshkosh was held scoreless over the final 3:23 of the opening half.

The Warhawks scored the first four points of the second half to increase their advantage to 23-17 with 8:39 to go in the third quarter. The Titans cut their deficit to one point at 29-28 after a pair of free throws by Leah Porath and again at 31-30 following a layup from Samuels with 64 seconds left in the third period.

Clinging to a 36-34 lead early in the fourth period, UW-Whitewater scored six points in a row in the span of 76 seconds on a layup by Freckmann and back-to-back jumpers from Raeder for a 42-34 advantage with 6:59 remaining.

UW-Oshkosh responded with six unanswered points of its own to close within 42-40 with just over four minutes left as Olivia Campbell drove for a layup and Samuels scored consecutive baskets in the paint.

UW-Whitewater then tallied five straight points, including four on back-to-back layups by Freckmann and Raeder, to extend its lead to 47-40.

UW-Oshkosh plays at UW-La Crosse on Saturday (Jan. 19) in a battle of conference co-leaders.