WAUSAU, Wis. — Sound defense and good offensive execution was the recipe for success for the UWGB-Marinette women’s basketball team as it handled defending state champion UW-Stevens Point-Wausau 73-46 on Wednesday night.

The Lady Bucs had no troubles with Wausau’s man-to-man defense, getting the ball into the post and knocking down shots when open forcing Wausau to switch to a 1-3-1 zone. Marinette switched to a 4-out, 1-in zone offense and ran it to perfection in the eyes of coach Jeff Sunstrom.

“When they switched to a 1-3-1 and we went into our zone offense we ran it perfectly,” he said. “We had good penetration and everyone was where they needed to be.”

Marinette came out in a man-to-man defense and played strong in the first quarter to get out a 16-5 lead. That strong defensive play continued and allowed the Lady Bucs to stay in a man-to-man all game long.

“We played man defense all game and we really did a nice job of controlling the gaps and taking away the penetration of their guards,” Sunstrom said. 

The Lady Bucs led 34-21 at half and put the game away in the third and fourth quarters, outscoring Wausau 39-25 to keep things well out of reach. 

One reason for Marinette’s success was the play of freshman Bri Burnett and Maddy Schultz. Burnett scored 13 points and Schultz had eight, but the growth of each of the players is what made Sunstrom the most excited.

“Maddy and Bri really played outstanding tonight,” he said. “They both are starting to settle in and get their feet. Bri has had two big games for us and has been running the floor really well, and Maddy played fantastic tonight. Our freshman are the reason we’re improving.”

The improvement doesn’t stop there.

“We’re playing a lot better together and we’re close because we’re always together,” Burnett said. “I think that helps us chemistry-wise and makes us more comfortable.”

Paige Reiswitz, a second-year player that was on last season’s squad that came up just short of the state final, scored 13 points and said this one felt to good to win. 

“I came into the game nervous because they won it all last year,” she said. “Not because I didn’t think we could beat them, because we proved we can. It feels good.”

Reiswitz was happy to see the improvement of Burnett and Schultz and thinks this team has what it takes to get back to the state tournament this year.

“Maddy and Bri really kicked it up for us tonight and that’s really good for the team,” she said. “Our goal is to win state and I think we have a chance if we keep focused on being a team and building up our teamwork.”

Jordan Milller was the high-scorer for the game with 15 points; Sarah Pettit added 12; Morgan Roman and Mercedes Waupoose had four and McKenzie Bebo and Jenna Thill had two. 

UWGB-Marinette 16 18 21 18 — 73

UWSP-Wausau 5 16 12 13 — 46

UWGB-Marinette (73) — Miller 15, Reiswitz 13, Roman 4, Bebo 2, Waupoose 4, Schultz 8, Burnett 13, Thill 2, Pettit 12

UWSP-Wausau (46) — McKibben 11, Rodriguez 9, Munson 12, Gliniecki 11, Ange 2, Beirman 1