It wasn’t easy for the UW-Stout women’s basketball team, but the Blue Devils didn’t exactly mind.
Stout saw a 10-point lead with two minutes remaining shrink to as small as three, but held on to upset 11th-ranked UW-Eau Claire 72-68 on Wednesday at Zorn Arena. Raegan Sorensen made a free throw with 17 seconds left to make it a two-possession game, and the Blugolds missed a pair of shots on the other end before the buzzer sounded.
The Blue Devils, who entered the game at 7-7 this season, had a hearty celebration after knocking off their ranked rival. It was Stout’s first win over the Blugolds since 2019.
The Blue Devils (8-7, 3-2) got it done thanks to an efficient shooting night and a strong showing in the paint. Stout made 46% of its shots and scored 44 points from the lane.
They rode another standout showing from freshman Raegan Sorensen, who led all scorers with 25 points while adding seven rebounds. Amanda Giesen and Lizzy Olsem added 17 and 14 points, respectively.
Stout never trailed in the victory. A scoreless stretch for the Blugolds (11-4, 2-2) that spanned more than four minutes to start the second quarter helped the Blue Devils build a healthy lead. It grew to nine by halftime. Stout held Eau Claire to 29% shooting from the field in the first two quarters.
The Blue Devils’ led by five or more until midway through the fourth quarter. The Blugolds cut it to 58-55 on a layup from Courtney Crouch, but Stout answered with a 6-0 run to set the stage for the finish.
A pair of free throws from Sorensen put Stout ahead 70-60 with two minutes left. Crouch made an old-fashioned 3-point play and Jessie Ruden followed with a 3 to quickly trim the advantage to four. The Blue Devils made a free throw before Tyra Boettcher finished a layup to make it 71-68 with 36 seconds remaining.
The Blugolds got the ball back with a chance to tie off a Blue Devils turnover, but couldn’t connect and had to foul. Sorensen made it a two-score game from the stripe, and effectively sealed the victory.
Ruden scored 18 points and tallied seven rebounds and four assists for Eau Claire. Crouch finished with 17 points and six rebounds, and Boettcher scored 11.
It was a second consecutive victory for Stout, and the second loss in a row for Eau Claire.
Team personnel was unavailable for postgame comment due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Blugolds hit the road on Saturday for a game at UW-La Crosse. Stout’s game at UW-Oshkosh on Saturday was canceled Wednesday due to COVID-19 protocols. The game will be deemed a no-contest and won’t count toward either side’s overall record or their postseason selection criteria. The Blue Devils are scheduled to take the court next Wednesday when they host UW-Stevens Point.
UW-Stout 72, UW-Eau Claire 68
Stout: Amanda Giesen 17, Lizzy Olsem 14, Sam Schaeffer 5, Anna Mutch 4, Allison Letcher 3, Raegan Sorensen 25, Alison Murdoch 4.
Eau Claire: Kylie Mogen 4, Jade Ganski 9, Courtney Crouch 17, Jessie Ruden 18, Tyra Boettcher 11, Ellie Clayton 6, Olivia Ganser 3.
3-pointers: Stout 2 (Giesen, Letcher), Eau Claire 7 (Ruden 4, Ganski, Boettcher, Ganser).
Halftime: Stout 34-25.