The nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team opened the 2019-20 season with a 68-54 victory over Saint Mary's University (Minn.) behind career-best performances from Leah Porath and Olivia Campbell on Monday (Nov. 11) in Kolf Sports Center.
UW-Oshkosh (1-0), ranked 17th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, won its 11th straight season opener after taking the lead for good at 14-12 with 4:03 remaining in the first quarter. The Titans later put the game away with a 19-5 run for a 49-31 lead at the 4:45 mark of the third period.
Porath led all players with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists while Campbell added 15 points, eight boards and three assists. Porath established a new career high in rebounds and finished one point shy of matching a career scoring best. Campbell tied her career highs in both scoring and rebounds.
UW-Oshkosh, which outshot Saint Mary's University, 44 (22-50) to 34 (18-53) percent from the field, concluded the contest with advantages of 35-31 in rebounds, 16-8 in assists and 8-3 in blocks. The Cardinals held a 14-15 edge in turnovers. Both teams recorded four steals.
The Titans went 8-for-20 (40 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc, 16 of 19 (84.2 percent) at the free throw line and registered assists on all but six of their made field goals against the Cardinals' full-court press.
Nine UW-Oshkosh players scored and eight dished out assists as Emily Miller and Nikki Arneson contributed seven points apiece. Karsyn Rueth had six points, five rebounds and three assists for the Titans, who also received five points from reserves Brooke Freitag and Claire Staples.
Saint Mary's University (0-2) shot just 30 percent (12-40) from the floor after the first quarter on the way to falling to the Titans for the seventh consecutive meeting. UW-Oshkosh defeated the Cardinals, 61-36, last season in Winona, Minn.
Shayley Vesel paced the Cardinals with 18 points and six rebounds while Brooklyn Paulson chipped in nine points and three steals. Vesel scored 10 of her team-leading point total in the first quarter.
Saint Mary's University led by as many as five points at 12-7 until Freitag drilled a 3-pointer than provided the Titans the lead for good at 14-12 midway through the first quarter. Freitag's long-range jumper continued a string of 12 straight UW-Oshkosh points that continued with a 3-pointer by Rueth before ending with a pair of Freitag free throws for a 19-12 lead at the 2:55 mark of the opening period.
UW-Oshkosh limited the Cardinals to nine points on 3-for-12 shooting from the field during the second quarter en route to building a 35-26 advantage at intermission following consecutive baskets by Porath and Staples over the final 46 seconds of the half.
The Titans then began the second half with layups by Campbell and Arneson during the first minute of the third quarter, extending their run to nine unanswered points. UW-Oshkosh owned a lead of at least 10 points for the remainder of the game after Campbell's layup provided a 37-26 advantage with 9:43 to go in the third period.
UW-Oshkosh built its largest lead of 18 points on two occasions as another Campbell layup upped the Titans' advantage to 49-31 midway through the third quarter before Miller scored in the lane for a 66-48 lead with 1:50 left in the game.
The Titans travel to Dubuque, Iowa, for a pair of games this weekend. UW-Oshkosh opens the Loras College Tip-Off Tournament against Augustana College (Ill.) on Friday (Nov. 15).