Blue Devils down Occidental with defensive effort

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LAS VEGAS, Nev (December 30, 2017) - UW-Stout trailed after the first period, turned up the defensive pressure in the second and third periods to take the lead, then had to hold off Occidental College in the final minutes in a 60-54 win Saturday at South Point Arena in the Classic.

The Tigers (6-4) took a 20-14 lead after the first period. The Blue Devils (7-4) put the clamps on Occidental in the second period. Afterr the Tigers shot 8 of 18 from the floor in the opening stanza, Stout held them to 4 of 16 in the second period, outscoring Oxy, 21-11, as eight different players scored to give Stout a 35-31 halftime lead.

The Blue Devils picked the Tigers' pockets five times in the third period, with guards Kyncaide Diedrich and Bailey Diersen getting a pair of thefts apiece, scoring seven points off turnovers. Diersen led off the second half with a pick and a lay-up to stretch Stout's lead to six points. Diersen scored seven of her game-high 14 points in the third period and recorded five points off her two steals.

But Oxy would make a run at Stout in the fourth period, pulling to within three points, 54-51, with five minutes left on a 3-pointer by Triana Anderson, for what would prove to be Occidental's final basket from the floor for the rest of the game. Oxy tightened the margin to 54-52 moments later on a free throw by Tala Ismail.

Neither team fared well down the stretch from the line in the final 2-minutes, 30-seconds of the game, keeping the outcome in question. Oxy was 2 of 5 from the line, while the Blue Devils were 3 of 7 during the same stretch.

Outside of the first period, Oxy did not play a clean game from the floor, shooting 26.5 percent (18-68) from the floor, missing 50 field goal attempts. The Blue Devils never shot over 38.5 percent for a single period, finishing at 32.7 percent (18-55) for the game. But Stout made two more 3-pointers and were 19 of 29 from the line, while the Tigers finished at 15 of 22 from the line.

Diersen led all scorers with 14 points and Diedrich contributed 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and six steals. Amber Fabeck led Stout off the glass, pulling down 11 rebounds, including 10 defensive boards. Kara Griswold and Emily Jacques each had five rebounds, a personal-best for Griswold. Fabeck and Anna Brown each had two blocked shots.

The Tigers were led by Anderson with 12 points. Kendahl Wallis-Lang came off the bench for 10 points. Occidental held a 50-45 advantage in rebounds.

Stout returns to Menomonie, but will continue on the road when they open the WIAC season by traveling to UW-Platteville, Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. Stout will be at UW-Stevens Point, Saturday, Jan. 6 at 3 p.m.