UWM Women dominate UIC to close regular season as Co-Champs

CHICAGO, IL (MILWAUKEE ATHLETICS) – Thanks to yet another impressive defensive performance on Saturday afternoon, the Milwaukee women's basketball team earned a 72-53 victory over UIC. With the win, the Panthers earned a share of the Horizon League Regular Season title.

It marks the third time in program history that the Panthers were named league co-champions, also earning the honor in 2000-01 and 2005-06

"I'm just really proud of our student-athletes," head coach Kyle Rechlicz commented. "They were locked in and focused from day one. They've been extremely motivated from day one. Never taking a day of relaxing off of their original goals. I'm just really proud. I'm at a loss for words because I know how hard they've worked to get here."

Similarly to Friday's contest, the defense stepped up early. Down 4-3, Milwaukee rattled off a 17-0 run, forcing nine first-quarter turnovers and recorded four steals as the Panthers ran out to a 20-5 advantage through 10 minutes.

Milwaukee finished 9-for-18 from the floor in the first led by Megan Walstad's six points as the Panthers built the big lead.

After a UIC bucket to open the second, Sydney Staver scored eight straight points to build the Milwaukee advantage to 20 at 28-8. The Flames could get no closer than down 15 the rest of the half as the Panthers defense stood tall, holding UIC to 4-for-11 shooting from the floor on their way to a 36-17 halftime lead.

UIC began to find its rhythm in the second half as it matched Milwaukee shot for shot and got to the free throw line 22 times. The Flames only converted on 50 percent of its chances from the line, however, and Milwaukee's early lead proved to be the difference.

Brandi Bisping led three players in double figures with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

Kendall Nead provided a big spark off the bench with a career-high 11 points while Staver also reached double figures with 10.

The Panthers once again dominated the rebounding battle, owning a 43-25 edge including a game-high seven from Megan Walstad.

Milwaukee will have a bye for the Horizon League Tournament opening round on February 25. The Panthers will host a quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00 pm.

"We have to spend this week recovering," Rechlicz commented. "We need to get as much rest as we can. But we also need to sharpen up our offense. We had some good defense this past weekend. I thought our intensity was spectacular. More than anything, though, we need to get rest."

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