UW-Platteville was within two points of 21st-ranked Washington University in the final minute before the host Bears held on for a 73-65 victory Saturday in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Pioneers closed within 66-64 on Kassie Buchholz's free throw with 1:33 to play to play. Rachel Emendorfer stole the ball on the next possession, but the Pioneers missed two potential tying shots. After a Wash. U. rebound and timeout, Natalie Orr buried a huge three-point shot with 32 seconds left for a 69-65 advantage. Buchholz went 1-2 from the line with 24 seconds left, but the Bears hit four straight free throws down the stretch.
The Pioneers fell to 4-7, while the nationally-ranked Bears improved to 9-2.
"I am proud of our effort today," Coach Megan Wilson said. "A year ago people wondered why I would schedule a team like Wash U, but it's because I think we can compete with teams of that caliber. Today we showed we could. We didn't back down and had an answer for whatever they threw at us."
The Pioneers led 23-17 after one quarter and were tied with the Bears at the half at 46. Buchholz led the visitors with 18 points, while Maiah Domask had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Allison Prestegaard almost matched Domask's double-double with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Prestegaard added 6 blocked shots.
Rachael Sondag had 20 points, Madeline Homoly 19 and Orr 11 for Wash U., who improved to 402-37 all-time on its home court.
"We competed with one of the best home teams in the country and that's exciting heading into WIAC play," Wilson said. "We still need to find a way to take better care of he ball, but the confidence and moxie we showed today reassures me that we have the right student-athletes and we're headed in the right direction."
The Pioneers begin conference action Wednesday by playing host to UW-Stout at 7 p.m.
By Paul Erickson, Director, UW-Platteville Communications, 608.342.1194, firstname.lastname@example.org