Nov. 16—After a pair of home victories last week to begin the regular season 2-0, the UW-Eau Claire women’s basketball team returned to Zorn Arena Tuesday night to take on the University of Minnesota-Morris Cougars.
The Blugolds put together another strong showing on their home floor, cruising to victory 66-45, their largest margin of victory so far this season.
UW-EC got off to a hot start right away, starting the game on an 8-0 run in the first minute.
The Blugolds led 15-3 with 2:30 minutes to go in the first quarter. However, the Cougars were able to trim their deficit to seven at the end of the first quarter to trail 17-10.
Morris then got within three points of UW-EC, 19-16, two minutes into the second quarter, but this was the closest they ever came to tying the game. The Blugolds responded with a 20-8 run to go into halftime leading 39-24.
UW-EC head coach Tonja Englund said their team let Morris back in the game by going away from what was working for them and making turnovers, but they were able to clean it up as the game went on.
In the second half, the Blugolds outscored Morris 27-21 to run away with the 66-45 win.
Kylie Mogen, senior forward for the Blugolds, led the team in scoring with 18 points in the game.
She said selfless play throughout the whole game by their team opened up lots of scoring opportunities for her and her teammates.
“We made a lot of good extra passes; the ‘one more’ was open the whole night and we knew that was what was going to get people open,” Mogen said.
Englund said Mogen presents a mismatch for opposing defenses because of her ability to shoot from outside and score in the low post.
Mogen transferred to UW-EC in the middle of the year last season after playing her first two collegiate seasons at Michigan Tech University.
Lucia Hauge, sophomore forward, made her first start for the Blugolds in this game and had 12 points and six rebounds.
“Lucia was awesome tonight,” Englund said. “She is a person who just plays smart, plays within her role, does everything right.”
Jessie Ruden, the Blugolds’ preseason first-team All-American senior guard, had 15 points on 6-19 shooting in the game.
Turnovers played a big role in the game, as the Blugolds won the turnover margin 22-12 and scored 27 points off Morris’ turnovers.
Englund said the team’s full-court press allowed them to get off to a good start defensively in the game, and by forcing turnovers “the defense created some offense.”
Next up for the Blugolds, they take a road trip to Holland, MI for the Hope College Tournament this weekend. They are scheduled to play Denison at 4 pm on Friday and Hope College at 3 pm on Saturday.
Englund said she scheduled these games in an effort to give the team the chance to face tough competition early in the season.
“I expect it to be a great experience for the players,” Englund said. “It’s another thing on our schedule that I’ve gone after to put this team in a position to get better all the time and be challenged.”