UW-Oshkosh, the defending Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) women's basketball champion, gets the 2019-20 season started with an exhibition game at NCAA Division I member UW-Green Bay on Wednesday (Oct. 30) at the Kress Center.
The Titans, who began the 2018-19 campaign with an exhibition contest at Division I University of Wisconsin, are opening the season at UW-Green Bay for the second time in four years. UW-Green Bay finished last year with a 22-10 record and placed second in the Horizon League.
Last season UW-Oshkosh (26-4 record in 2018-19) won its league-record 13th WIAC regular season title by two games before going on to secure the conference postseason championship and advancing to the third round of the NCAA Division III Championship.
The Titans, who have won at least 20 games each of the past seven seasons, boast the best winning percentage of any women's collegiate basketball program among all levels in Wisconsin over the past seven years with a 165-37 record (.817) since head coach Brad Fischer took the helm at UW-Oshkosh in 2012-13.
UW-Oshkosh's regular season schedule gets underway with the home opener against Saint Mary's University (Minn.) on Nov. 11. The Titans defeated Saint Mary's University (13-13) by a 61-36 score last season in Winona, Minn. The Cardinals went on to finish sixth in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference a year ago.
The regular season opener is the first of nine home games for the Titans this season. UW-Oshkosh also hosts Lawrence University (6-18) on Dec. 1 before welcoming conference rivals UW-Stout (18-9) on Jan. 11, UW-Eau Claire (13-12) on Jan. 15, UW-Whitewater (18-10) on Jan. 25, UW-Platteville (11-15) on Jan. 29, UW-La Crosse (22-5) on Feb. 8, UW-Stevens Point (8-18) on Feb. 12 and UW-River Falls (10-15) for the regular season finale Feb. 22.
UW-Oshkosh, which concluded the 2018-19 season ranked 13th in the country by D3hoops.com, is set to play teams from seven different states among its 11 nonconference games. The Titans begin their vagabond nonconference slate by traveling to Iowa to take on Augustana College (Ill.) and a to-be-determined opponent at the Loras College Tipoff Tournament on Nov. 15-16. Augustana College (14-12) placed fourth last season in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
The Titans then heads to Milwaukee for Wisconsin Lutheran College's Paul Knueppel Classic, where they will battle DePauw University (Ind.) on Nov. 22 and Ohio Northern University on Nov. 23. The contest against DePauw University (25-5), the 2007 and 2013 Division III champion, will be a rematch of last season's thrilling NCAA second round matchup that the Titans won by a 54-52 score in Oshkosh. DePauw University, the North Coast Athletic Conference champion, ended last year with a 25-5 record and ranked 19th nationally while Ohio Northern University (15-13) was seventh in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
UW-Oshkosh also travels to Tacoma, Wash., for the Pacific Northwest Holiday Tournament to play host Pacific Lutheran University on Dec. 21 and University of Puget Sound (Wash.) on Dec. 22. University of Puget Sound (19-6) and Pacific Lutheran University (14-10) finished third and sixth, respectively, in the Northwest Conference last season.
UW-Oshkosh rounds out its nonconference schedule with road games at Alma College (Mich.) on Nov. 25, St. Norbert College on Dec. 7 and Ripon College on Dec. 29. Alma College (15-12) placed fourth in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association a year ago while Ripon College (19-9) participated in the 2019 Division III Championship after winning the Midwest Conference title. St. Norbert College is coming off an 11-15 campaign and a fourth-place finish in the Midwest Conference.
Completing UW-Oshkosh's schedule are road conference contests at UW-La Crosse on Jan. 4, UW-Platteville on Jan. 8, UW-River Falls on Jan. 18, UW-Stevens Point on Jan. 22, UW-Eau Claire on Feb. 5, UW-Stout on Feb. 15 and UW-Whitewater on Feb. 19.
UW-Oshkosh won the WIAC title with a 12-2 record a year ago. Following the Titans in last season's league standings were UW-La Crosse and UW-Whitewater in second at 10-4; UW-Stout in fourth at 7-7; UW-Platteville fifth at 5-9; and UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point all in sixth at 4-10. UW-Whitewater, which fell in the opening round of the 2019 Division III Championship, joined UW-Oshkosh in representing the WIAC at the national tournament.
UW-Oshkosh returns 12 letter winners from last year's squad that ranked ninth in the country by allowing 49.1 points per game and 10th by committing 12.7 turnovers per contest. The Titans also led the WIAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16), field goal percentage (.431), scoring margin (+17.4), rebounding margin (+6.4) and made 3-pointers (199). UW-Oshkosh's scoring defense was the fourth best in WIAC history while the 199 made 3-pointers set a program record.
Senior guard Olivia Campbell headlines the Titan returners after garnering All-WIAC recognition (honorable mention) last season. Campbell started 29 games a year ago, averaging 6.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game and shooting 78.2 percent at the free throw line. She was one of five players named to the league's All-Defensive Team last season.
UW-Oshkosh returns three other players who started at least 10 games last year in juniors Nikki Arneson (12 starts), Leah Porath (18) and Karsyn Rueth (10). Arneson, a forward, scored 6.7 points per game last season while averaging 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Porath, a guard, was third on the team at 7.2 points per game last year to go along with 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest, and a .497 field goal percentage. Rueth, a center, averaged 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest a year ago.
Sophomore guard Brooke Freitag and senior forward Emily Miller also return after playing more than seven minutes per contest last season.