Yellowjacket Women's Basketball on to Championship!
After dropping two hotly contested games to the UW-Whitewater Warhawks during the regular season, the UW-Superior women's basketball was determined not to experience another repeat Thursday night.
And that determination was on full display from the get go as the Yellowjackets took a big first half lead and held it for the rest of the game on the way to posting an emphatic 84-63 win over the Warhawks in their WIAC Conference Tournament Semifinal at Kachel Gymnasium.
With the win, the Yellowjackets not only improved to 16-11 for the season, they handed UW-Whitewater their first defeat against a WIAC member during the 2013-20124 season while also booking a ticket to the WIAC Championship game at UW-Oshkosh on Saturday.
The Yellowjackets took a sizable lead from nearly the beginning, getting a three-pointer from Britnee Blake (Superior, Wis./Superior Senior), two layups from Grace Kennedy (Wausau, Wis./Newman Catholic) and a jumper by Sally Linzmeier (Valders, Wis./Valders) for a 9-2 advantage with 16:31 left in the first half.
UW-Whitewater (22-4) cut the deficit to 20-18 on a driving layup by Andrea Olson with 10:37 left in the opening stanza.
The Yellowjackets came right back however, going on a 10-2 run over a 6:00 span of the half for a comfortable 36-22 lead following a jumper by Linzmeier with 2:30 left in the frame.
UW-Superior then got a jumper by Deandra Vavra (Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti) and a three-pointer by Brynn Liljander (Isanti, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti) as time expired in the first half to take a commanding 41-25 edge into halftime.
The Warhawks attempted a rally early in the second half, cutting the deficit to 47-37 on a three-pointer by Reilly Stewart with 15:41 remaining in regulation.
But UW-Superior took control from there, steadily pulling away to a 73-51 lead on a layup by Vavra with 5:50 showing on the clock.
From there, the Warhawks never got closer than 16 points as the Yellowjackets shot a blistering 66.7 percent (18-of-27) from field in the second half and 57.8 percent (37-of-64) for the game.
Offensively, Linzmeier paced five Yellowjackets in double-figures with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Hadley Skalmoski (Neenah, Wis./Neenah) added 13 points and nine rebounds while Vavra and Vanessa Lebens (Roseville, Minn./Roseville Area) each had 12 points and Kennedy finished with 10.
Kaitlyn Thill had 16 points for the Warhawks. Abbie Reeves finished with 13 points for UW-Whitewater as well.Opening tipoff against UW-Oshkosh is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday. The game can be heard live on 91.3 FM KUWS with Matt Johnson on the call. - John Garver
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