Melanie Schneider had a team-leading 11 points and Nikki Arneson added 10 as the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team scored the first eight points of the game and coasted to a 63-45 conference-opening win at UW-Platteville on Wednesday (Jan. 2).
UW-Oshkosh (11-1, 1-0 WIAC) secured its 13th consecutive victory over the Pioneers after limiting UW-Platteville to its lowest scoring output of the season. The Titans, ranked 19th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, held a double-digit lead for the last 27:45 of the contest.
The Titans owned a 32-18 advantage at intermission and led by at least 16 points for all but 27 seconds of the second half.
Schneider, the Titans' leading scorer at 10.5 points per game, shot 4-for-8 from the field on the way to her 15th double-digit scoring performance of her career.
Arneson scored in double figures for the second straight game and third time this season by shooting 3-for-4 from the field and 4-for-5 at the free throw line in 17 minutes off the bench.
Eleven Titans scored points, including Leah Porath with nine, Olivia Campbell with eight, Jessie Rabas with seven and Chloe Pustina with six. Porath and Pustina tied for the team lead with seven rebounds, and Pustina led all players with four assists. Porath's rebounding total was a season high while Pustina's established a career high.
UW-Oshkosh ended the game shooting 35.7 percent (20-56) from the floor, 30.4 percent (7-23) from 3-point range and 57.1 percent (16-28) at the foul line. The Titans owned advantages in rebounds (36-29), assists (12-6), turnovers (9-11) and steals (6-3).
The Titans entered the contest seventh in the country in scoring defense (46.0) while also leading the WIAC in average scoring (+22.3) and rebounding (+7.5) margins, per game 3-pointers made (8.3), turnovers committed (13.5), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.15). UW-Oshkosh has limited eight of its 12 opponents to their lowest scores of the season.
Wednesday's win was UW-Oshkosh head coach Brad Fischer's 150th during his seven seasons at the helm. Fischer, who sports a 150-34 record, becomes the 13th WIAC coach to reach 150 wins and the seconed fastest to reach the milestone. His .815 winning percentage ranks fourth in league history for coaches with at least 70 wins. Only former UW-Oshkosh head coach Pam Ruder, who started her career with a 150-29 mark, reached 150 wins faster than Fischer among WIAC coaches.
UW-Oshkosh's 8-0 run to begin the game featured a 3-pointer by Campbell, layups from Porath and Schneider, and a free throw by Karsyn Rueth until the Pioneers got on the scoreboard with a basket in the paint by Maiah Domask at the 6:34 mark of the first quarter.
A jumper by Domask trimmed the UW-Platteville deficit to 15-10, but a three-point play from Schneider extended the Titan lead to 18-10 before entering the second period with a 19-12 advantage.
The Titans held the Pioneers scoreless for a stretch of 7:36 spanning the first and second periods. UW-Oshkosh tallied 10 unanswered points, including five by Pustina, between the 1:23 mark of the first quarter and the 3:47 mark of the second. A 3-pointer by Brooke Freitag culminated the 10-point run for a 28-12 lead.
UW-Oshkosh went into intermission with a 32-18 advantage after holding UW-Platteville to just six points on 16.7 percent (2-12) shooting during the second quarter.
The Titans scored the first seven points of the second half on a 3-pointer from Rueth and layups by Porath and Schneider. UW-Oshkosh went on to own its largest lead of 22 points on two occasions as a Rabas 3-pointer gave the Titans a 47-25 cushion with 3:58 to play in the third quarter and a free throw by Abby Kaiser upped the advantage to 63-41 with 69 seconds remaining in the game.
UW-Platteville's Domask had a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds. She went in to the game leading the conference with six double-doubles and 10.6 rebounds per game.
Morgan Horstmann chipped in 10 points for UW-Platteville (6-6, 0-1 WIAC), which received just seven points in 86 total minutes played from its reserves.
UW-Oshkosh returns home to host UW-Stout on Saturday (Jan. 5) in Kolf Sports Center.