GEORGETOWN, Texas - Southwestern posted 42 second half points against a talented Wisconsin-Eau Claire team in the final game of the Holiday Classic, but ultimately fell 72-62 on Thursday night. The loss drops SU to 6-6 on the year.
The Pirates started slow offensively, shooting just 10% in the first ten minutes of the contest, but were able to hang close with spectacular defense, forcing eight turnovers in the opening period with five steals. SU trailed by 11 at the half, 31-20, shooting just 18.8% from the field.
Southwestern shot out of the gate offensively, coming out of the break going 3-4 from three-point range in the first four minutes to pull within eight, 39-31.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire responded with a 9-1 run and eventually pushed their lead to 19, the largest of the game, 39-58 with just over 10 minutes to play. Southwestern wasn't able to string together consecutive offensive possessions until a pair of runs that brought them within nine, 61-52, with 3:51 to go.
A three-pointer by Chelsea Leeder falling away brought the Pirates to within nine points again, 64-55, with 2:34 to play in the game. Out of the timeout SU forced a five second call but wasn't able to capitalize and UWEC's Ellen Plendl scored her game high 23rd point on a put back to push the lead back to 11.
Anna Fareed (pictured) responded with a layup in transition and after Eau Claire went 2-4 from the free throw line in the next two possessions Southwestern cut the lead to eight points, 68-60, on a three from Brianna Guevara with just over a minute to go.
Guevara went the length of the court after UWEC's Bingea made one of two from the free throw line, hitting the layup to bring SU within seven, 69-62. The Blugolds sealed the game from the free throw line, keeping the feisty Pirates from making the comeback a reality.
Southwestern shot just 28.4% in the game, led by Chelsea Leeder's 12 points. The real difference came on the boards as the Pirates were out-rebounded 64-37 on the evening.
SU hits the road for one more non-conference match, facing LeTourneau just after the New Year, before returning to SCAC conference action on the 13th to take on Birmingham Southern at home.