UW-Oshkosh is predicted to repeat as the WIAC women's basketball champion in 2020, according to a preseason poll conducted by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.
Last season UW-Oshkosh produced a 26-4 overall record and won its conference-leading 13th WIAC championship by two games with a 12-2 mark in league play. The Titans went on secure the WIAC postseason title before advancing to third round of the NCAA Division III Championship. UW-Oshkosh finished the year ranked 13th in the country by D3hoops.com.
UW-Oshkosh eighth-year head coach Brad Fischer welcomes back 12 letter winners from last year's team, including four players who started at least 10 games a year ago. Fischer's Titans have compiled a 165-37 record and at least 20 wins each of the past seven seasons. The program's .817 winning percentage during Fischer's tenure is the best of any women's or men's college basketball team in the state of Wisconsin since the 2012-13 campaign.
Senior guard Olivia Campbell headlines the returning Titans. Campbell, a two-time WIAC All-Defensive Team selection, garnered all-league honorable mention recognition last season after averaging 6.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
Junior guard Leah Porath, who averaged 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game a year ago, is the Titans' highest returning scorer from last year's balanced squad that did not feature a double-digit scorer.
Junior forward Nikki Arneson and junior center Karsyn Rueth are back for the Titans after averaging 6.7 and 5.7 points, respectively, and starting 10 games or more last season.
UW-Oshkosh also returns senior forward Emily Miller and sophomore guard Brooke Freitag, who both played more than seven minutes per game last year.
The Titans ranked ninth in the country by allowing 49.1 points per game last season and 10th by committing 12.7 turnovers per contest. UW-Oshkosh also led the WIAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16), field goal percentage (.431), scoring margin (+17.4), rebounding margin (+6.4) and made 3-pointers (199). The Titans' scoring defense was the fourth best in WIAC history while their 199 made 3-pointers set a program record.
UW-La Crosse (22-5 record in last season) is projected to place second in the 2020 WIAC standings. The Eagles, who tied their program record for wins a year ago, are followed in the poll by UW-Whitewater (18-10) in third, UW-Eau Claire (13-12) fourth, UW-Stout (18-9) fifth, UW-Platteville (11-15) sixth, UW-Stevens Point (8-18) seventh and UW-River Falls (10-15) eighth.
UW-La Crosse and UW-Whitewater tied for second in the league last season with 10-4 records while UW-Stout placed fourth at 7-7. Rounding out the 2019 WIAC standings were UW-Platteville in fifth at 5-9 and a three-way tie for sixth at 4-10 among UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point.
UW-Oshkosh went on to trounce UW-Whitewater, 69-40, in the WIAC Championship title game for the school's fifth league postseason crown and fourth in the past six years.
UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh both represented the WIAC at the Division III Championship last season as multiple league teams advanced to the NCAA postseason for the 10th time over the last 12 seasons. The Titans have won at least one game at the Division III Championship in five of the previous six years. UW-Whitewater was eliminated in the first round during the 2019 NCAA postseason.
UW-La Crosse brings back all five starters from last season, including a pair of All-WIAC First Team performers. The Eagles set a conference record last year by limiting opponents to a .322 field goal percentage.
UW-Whitewater welcomes back one All-WIAC First Team selection among its two returning starters, while UW-Eau Claire returns the reigning conference Player of the Year, senior guard Hallee Hoeppner, and three other starters.
UW-Stout looks to replace three starters after advancing to the semifinals of the WIAC Championship last season.
UW-Platteville will be under the direction of first-year head coach Kelly McNiff, who was an assistant coach at UW-Oshkosh for six seasons from 2014-19 and a four-year letter winner as a player for Titan squads that amassed a 98-15 record from 1997-2000.
UW-Stevens Point will attempt to rebound from its first losing season since 2000, while UW-River Falls first-year head coach Blake DuDonis inherits a trio of returning starters from a team that finished last year with three consecutive wins.
UW-Oshkosh's clinched its league-record 13 regular season championships in 1985, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2017 and 2019. The Titans have made 15 appearances in the NCAA postseason, winning the national title in 1996 and finishing as the runners-up in 1995.
The Titans get the 2020 season underway with an exhibition game at NCAA Division I member UW-Green Bay on Wednesday (Oct. 30). UW-Oshkosh opens the regular season by hosting Saint Mary's University (Minn.) on Nov. 11 in Kolf Sports Center. The Titans open conference play at UW-La Crosse on Jan. 4.