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Titans Conquer Vikings

Emily Higgins tallied five points, three rebounds and two steals against the Vikings.
Emily Higgins tallied five points, three rebounds and two steals against the Vikings.

Leah Porath scored a career-high 22 points on nearly perfect shooting from the field as the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh women's basketball team cruised to a 65-46 victory over Augustana College (Ill.) during the opening game of the Loras College Tip-Off Classic on Friday (Nov. 15) in Dubuque, Iowa.

UW-Oshkosh (2-0) held Augustana College to just four points during the second quarter on the way to building a 32-17 lead at halftime. The Titans, who overcame an 8-2 deficit, reclaimed the lead for good at 14-13 with a minute to play in the first period before going on to maintain a double-digit advantage for the final 25:33 of the game.

The Titans, ranked 17th in the NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com, advance to play in Saturday's Tip-Off Classic championship game against host Loras College.

Porath, averaging 20.5 points per game this season, surpassed her previous career high of 20 points by shooting 9-for-10 from the floor, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range. Porath, who scored all 22 of her points during the first three quarters, matched her prior career-best scoring effort on her fourth 3-pointer of the game and set a new career high with a jumper that upped the Titans' lead to 48-28 with 2:47 remaining in the third period.

Eleven Titans scored points against the Vikings, including Nikki Arneson with nine, Brooke Freitag with eight, and Emily Higgins, Emily Miller and Karsyn Rueth with five each. Freitag's eight points tied her career high while Arneson shot 4-for-5 from the field.

Olivia Campbell led UW-Oshkosh with four rebounds and three assists. Katie Ludwig recorded a game-best three steals for the Titans.

UW-Oshkosh finished the contest shooting 48.1 percent (25-52) from the floor, 52.9 percent (9-17) from beyond the 3-point arc and 85.7 percent (6-7) at the free throw line. The Titans owned advantages of 9-5 in assists and 10-17 in turnovers. Both teams had 24 rebounds and two blocks.

Augustana College shot 42.6 percent (20-47) from the field but just 20 percent (2-10) from 3-point range and 40 percent (4-10) at the foul line.

Alexis Jones and Gabriela Loiz paced the Vikings with 10 points apiece. Jones added a game-best nine rebounds and a team-leading two steals.

Augustana College (1-2) jumped out to an 8-2 advantage, but the Titans responded with seven unanswered points to take their first lead at 9-8 following a Porath 3-pointer. UW-Oshkosh later reclaimed the lead for good at 14-13 on a jumper from Higgins with one minute left in the opening period.

A Porath 3-pointer at the 9:01 mark of the second quarter sparked a 16-2 UW-Oshkosh run to close out the first half. Six different Titans contributed points during the decisive 16-2 run, including Arneson with four and 3-pointers from both Freitag and Higgins. Augustana College went 1-for-12 from the field and committed five turnovers over the final nine minutes of the second quarter.

Freitag's 3-pointer with 5:33 remaining in the second quarter extended the Titans' lead to 27-15, and UW-Oshkosh led by at least 10 points the rest of the way. A jumper by Claire Staples provided the Titans their largest lead of 25 points at 55-30 with 9:28 to play in the fourth period.

UW-Oshkosh and Augustana College met for the first time since a 69-40 Titan win during the 2006-07 season opener.