PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – Mallory Cramer made two free throws with eight seconds remaining to send UW-La Crosse to a 54-53 win over the MSOE women's basketball team Friday evening in the first game of the UW-Platteville Tip-Off Classic at Bo Ryan Court.
The Raiders (0-1) were denied the win in their season-opener after taking a 53-52 lead on a layup by Margaret Pugh with 42 seconds to go. The Eagles (2-1) held on after the free throws, forcing a turnover in the final seconds.
Junior Bre'Ana Strong led all scorers with 18 points, while MSOE had two more score in double-figures. Sophomore Megan Kroll finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Holly Denfield finished with 10 points and seven boards in her collegiate debut.
MaKenzie Miller led UWL with 15 points, while two more Eagles scored eight points apiece.
There were eight ties and six lead changes over the final 10-plus minutes of the game to set up an exciting final minute. After Pugh's layup gave the Red and White a one-point lead, La Crosse called timeout with 21 seconds remaining. The Raiders then forced a turnover when action resumed, but missed a pair of free throws, giving UWL the last possession it would need.
The game was back and forth throughout much of the first half. The teams were tied at 15 with 6:15 to go before the Eagles went on a 10-2 run to jump out to an eight-point advantage on a Maggie Bishop free throw just over two minutes from halftime. UWL held off the Raiders for the rest of the half, taking a six-point lead into the break at 29-23.
MSOE came out on a 6-1 run to start the second half to pull within one point at 30-29 on a Denfield jumper at 17:42. The Eagles again pulled away, going ahead 36-29 before the Raiders rattled off a 10-2 run to take a 39-38 lead near the midway point of the second half.
The Raiders got to the free throw line 42 times, converting on 25, while shooting 34.2 percent from the field. Meanwhile, the Eagles were 16-of-30 at the free throw line and shot 35.8 percent on the night.
The Tip-Off Classic continues Saturday, when MSOE plays host UW-Platteville. The Raiders and Pioneers tip off at 3 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com