Schmidt hits game-winner as UWSP women start 2-0
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) women’s basketball beat Luther (Iowa) at Berg Gymnasium Saturday, Nov. 17, to finish 2-0 at its Tip-Off Classic.
Coming off an 87-56 win over Dubuque (Iowa) in their season opener Friday, Nov. 16, the Pointers rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half against Luther (0-2) Saturday afternoon, where the game was tied 69-69 in the closing seconds.
With 4.4 seconds left, sophomore post player Kellan Schmidt hit a jumper to give UWSP a 71-69 lead, and the Pointers held on to win 72-69 and to start the season 2-0.
“It was hard fought, and it was great for our young team to have to have that kind of pressure and fight through that,” said UWSP women’s basketball head coach Shirley Egner. “They were resilient, they fought back, and I’m really proud of them.”
UWSP opened its season Friday night against Dubuque (1-1), where the Pointers jumped out to a 43-30 lead at halftime and outscored Dubuque 44-26 the rest of the way to roll to an 87-56 victory.
Freshman guard and former Tri-County High School standout Amber Baehman finished with 17 points and six rebounds in her first college game, sophomore point guard Brooke Geier totaled 13 points and eight rebounds, and sophomore guard Taylor Greenheck had 13 points to lead the Pointers.
UWSP was back at the Berg Saturday afternoon to take on Luther, which is guided by head coach Amanda (Nechuta) Bailey, the all-time leading scorer in Pointers’ history.
Luther got out to a 6-0 lead to start the game, before UWSP used an 11-0 run to take an 11-6 lead with 4:00 to play in the first quarter, and held a 15-13 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.
“They did a great job fighting back, and their competitive spirit was really good for a young team,” said Egner. “They didn’t fold, and we hit a couple of big shots and we got back into it and we built a little confidence, and that’s all it needed.”
Luther carried a 28-26 lead into halftime, and outscored the Pointers 14-6 to start the second half and build a 42-32 lead with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter.
UWSP responded, as Schmidt scored four consecutive points, Greenheck had a three-point play and Geier had a three-pointer to cap a 10-0 run that tied the game at 42-42 with 5:20 to go in the third quarter, while the game went into the fourth quarter knotted at 47-47.
“We just really hung in there and played hard,” said Egner. “It was good for our squad to be in that situation and know that we can fight back and do that.”
It remained a one-possession game throughout the fourth quarter and headed into the final minute tied at 66-66, when Greenheck buried a three-pointer from the left wing to give the Pointers a 69-66 lead with 58 seconds left.
Luther freshman guard Katie Evans answered with a three-pointer to tie the game at 69-69 with 45 seconds to play, before each team missed a jumper, and a deflected pass out of bounds gave the Pointers the ball under their own basket with 7.7 seconds remaining.
Schmidt caught the inbound pass from Geier in front of the UWSP bench, took two dribbles to her right, and knocked down a jumper at the free-throw line with 4.4 seconds to play to give the Pointers a 71-69 lead.
“The shot clock was going down and I didn’t want to give it up,” said Schmidt. “So I just pulled up and did what I did.”
“It was great, and I’m glad she didn’t give the ball up,” said Egner. “Took it to the hole, and that’s what we need her to do.”
Following a Luther turnover, Greenheck hit a free throw to make it 72-69, and a desperation pass from Luther was picked off by Geier, as UWSP pulled out a 72-69 victory.
Geier finished with 15 points and five assists to go along with three steals, Greenheck scored 13 points off the bench, Schmidt totaled 12 points and seven rebounds, and Baehman had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Pointers, who will play at Lakeland at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20.
“It was an awesome win,” said Geier. “We didn’t let down or anything, and we talked about the little ups and downs during halftime.
“But we came back second half, and just got ‘er done for the team,” she said.
“We hit some big free throws going down the stretch, much better than in the first half,” said Egner. “We’ve got a lot of stuff we can work on and get better.
“But it was a big win for us,” she said.