Cyclones advance to regionals with only 5 players
By Kari Toland
photo courtesy of FoxWeb
Sophomore Crystal Lehman and freshman Stephanie Stieger
work together in a zone defense against
UW-Washington Feb. 11.
UW-Fox women's basketball team had a trying second half of their season. They finished with an overall record of 6-16. The Cyclones made it to the final WCC Regional on Feb. 20 against UW-Marshfield despite only having five girls to fill the roster.
The start of the second half of the season was shaky when they played UW-Barron County on Jan. 5. The team trailed by 17 points during the game ending in final scores 63-69. Freshman Carlie Lau lead the girls with 24 points and 20 rebounds. Sophomore Crystal Lehman was close behind with 20 points and 9 steals.
The first half of the game, the Cyclones shot at 29 percent from the field but kicked it up to 50 percent in the second half.
The girls defeated UW-Rock County 69-55 on Jan 9. During the home game, Lehman and Lau both scored a double-double, Lau with 27 points and 16 rebounds and Lehman with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Stephanie Stieger pitched in 11 points and 9 rebounds, while Freshman Jennifer Eickert helped with 13 points.
"Our team did awesome together even with only five girls, other teams usually have seven or eight girls," head coach Tracy Natz said.
The Cyclones played a home game against UW-Waukesha on Jan 28. The game began with five girls, and with six minutes left in the game, Lau fouled out. Three minutes later Eickert was forced to follow.
With only three players remaining, the Cyclones lost 59-73. Lau got a game high of 24 points while Stieger was able to get a career high of 16 points. Lehman pitched in 15 points and Eickert grabbed 12 points. The Cyclones shot 47 percent from the field while only managing 41 percent from the free throw line.
Fan and associate professor of biology Terri Gonya attends games to get a picture of what her students do outside of class.
"All the mental processing that they do and the physical nature at the same time, it's sad to know more people weren't there to support them," Gonya said.
The girls came back and defeated UW-Manitowoc in a close game that ended in a win of 53-49. They started strong shooting 41.9 percent in the first half, but struggled in the second with a 26 percent from the field and 19 percent from the free throw. Lehman lead the team with 17 points and 5 assists. Stieger followed with 14 points and 19 rebounds. Lau pitched in 12 points and Eickert 10.
"They stayed cheerful and focused on what they were doing. I was very impressed with them," Gonya said.
The Cyclones made it to the first WCC Regional against UW-Manitowoc during on Feb 16. It was the third time they won against the Blue Devils. Lehman led with 20 points, 9 steals and 3 assists. Stieger pitched in 11 rebounds, Lau landed 23 points and freshman Hallie Tittle with 7 rebounds.
"I was a little nervous before the game. It's never easy beating a team three times during the season, and both times we beat them in prior games they were close," Natz said.
The Cyclones' defense is what kept a close lead. They rallied 20 steals amongst themselves and were able to hold UW-Manitowoc at a 23 percent shooting in the second half. This lead to a win of 56-42.
After beating the Blue Devils, the win led UW-Fox to their final WCC Regional game against UW-Marshfield.
Eickert led the Cyclones with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Lehman in a close lead with 16 points and 4 steals.
Lau pitched in 11 points and Stieger was able to make 11 rebounds. They shot 23 percent from the field, while Marshfield players pulled 40 percent shot rate. They cut the score to 11 with four minutes left, but couldn't get any closer. The Cyclones had to call it quits after Marshfield defeated them on Marauder territory 49-77.
"Marshfield came out more aggressive and stronger. We struggled the whole game shooting," Natz said.