WNIT: “Who’s there?”
UWM: “The UWM Women’s Basketball Team”
UWM: The Panther Women from Milwaukee, and we’re READY to tear things up in your tournament.
That’s right Panther Fans the UWM Women’s Basketball team is “at least” heading to the WNIT, their first post season tournament in TEN YEARS! Head Coach Kyle Rechlicz got an early birthday present from her squad as they disposed of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at the O’rena Thursday night 98-95. A win alone wouldn’t be enough, the Panthers also needed the #1 seeded team in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament, the UW-Green Bay Phoenix to help out 22 miles to the south in Detroit and defeat the Titans …which they did quite handedly 74-58.
The Panthers Thursday night became only the 3rd team in the history of the Horizon League to finish a season in the bottom two one year, and then finish the very next season in the top two.
It seemed like it was UWM’s night from the opening tip, they came out on fire, out scoring Oakland 18-8 to start the game. The Grizzlies would tie the score at 23 at the end of the 1st period, and by the time the half time buzzer buzzed the Panthers had put up 51, a season high point total for a half, and would be up 5 when play resumed.
Oakland kept the second half competitive, and had a chance to win the game in the closing moments being down only a point, but, the attempt was squelched by a Stephanie Koskowitz block. Sierra Ford-Washington promptly picked up the loose ball and was fouled, she then made both of her free throws putting UWM up by 3 with less than a second left. Oakland was unable to get a shot off in the tenths of seconds left, and the Panthers tasted sweet victory!
Like I’ve said before, and will continue to say these ladies are firing on ALL CYLINDERS right now. Take for example the game that both Steph Kostowicz, and Jenny Lindner had Thursday night. Both went off for 32 points, Lindner’s a career high, and Kotowicz set a record going 13 of 14 shooting 92.9% from the field. It was the first time since UWM Women have been in Division I that two players collected 30+ points in the same game.
Rechlicz and company still have one more game before they get to their conference tournament, they play Saturday in Detroit at noon. Then they’ll have a full week off before their double bye in in Green Bay.
The Panther Women need to keep on doing what they have done best this year, win on the road (6-2), and win two games in the tournament at the Kress Events Center next weekend. If (when) that happens they can tear up the WNIT invite, because they’ll have won the Horizon League Tournament, and will be going to the BIG DANCE…The Women’s NCAA Tournament.
Good Luck Ladies, and Go Panthers!
(photos courtesy: WNIT, UWM, Horizon League)