UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball had a simple rule going into this season: don’t lose at home.
More than halfway through the season, the Blugolds are a perfect 8-0 at Zorn Arena after a 76-64 victory over UW-Platteville Wednesday night.
“We’ve taken that very personal this year because Zorn is a special place to play,” senior point guard Maddie Dunathan said. “So we’ve just taken that to heart and used it as motivation every game.”
Still riddled with injuries in the frontcourt, Eau Claire used a 52% three-point shooting night to win their second straight and stay tied atop the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) standings.
Hallee Hoeppner, the WIAC’s leading scorer, asserted herself early with eight first-quarter points that gave Eau Claire a narrow one-point lead. The junior guard finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds and continues to show why she is one the conference’s best.
“I just really lean on my teammates and they do a great job of giving me the ball when I’m open and letting me make the extra pass to them when they are,” Hoeppner said. “They really do a great job of helping me play my best so all credits to them.”
A triple on four straight possessions for Eau Claire early in the second quarter started by Hoeppner told the story for the hot night of shooting. The Blugolds went 7 of 10 from downtown in the second quarter alone and built a 38-30 lead going into halftime.
Eau Claire’s onslaught of threes continued in the second half thanks to Dunathan and junior guards Kelsey Bakken and Caryn Donahue. Dunathan ran the show all night and stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds. Bakken, the conference’s third leading scorer, also finished in double-digits with 14 points
Donahue was welcomed back from injury over the weekend and provided instant offense for Eau Claire with four three-pointers to finish with 12 points.
Forced to play with a smaller lineup, the Blugolds have had no trouble adjusting as they led the Pioneers by as many as 19 in the second half.
“We don’t have any big posts on the inside right now so our guards are forced to take more threes,” Dunathan said. “Which is nice because a lot of us can hit any given night so it works out.”
Up next for the Blugolds (13-3) is another opportunity to defend home court against UW-Stout Saturday night at 5 p.m.
UW-Eau Claire 76, UW-Platteville 64
Platteville: Maiah Domask 25, Caitlyn Tipton 5, Morgan Horstman 3, Rachel Emendorfer 6, Lexis Macomber 2, Allison Heckert 3, Jai Clemons 6, Kaite Asche 6, Kassie Hansen 8.
Eau Claire: Maddie Dunathan 18, Kelsey Bakken 14, Caryn Donahue 12, Halle Hoeppner 16, Brooke Harris 8, Kaycee Gierczak 2, Ellie Clayton 6.
3-pointers: Platteville 7 (Emendorfer 2, Clemons 2, Domask, Tipton, Heckert); Eau Claire 13 (Dunathan 4, Donahue 4, Bakken 2, Hoeppner 2, Clayton).
Halftime score: Eau Claire 38-30.