BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Senior Erika Laete scored a game-high 21 points and junior Rachel Johnson added 20 to lead Wisconsin Lutheran to a 73-59 win against Wisconsin-La Crosse in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament on Friday at the Shirk Center.

The Warriors (26-3) advanced to Saturday’s NCAA Tournament second round where they will face regional host Illinois Wesleyan at 7 p.m. at the Shirk Center. The Titans (24-4) advanced by defeating Webster (17-11) by a 82-70 margin in Friday’s other first-round matchup. WLC and IWU have never met on the hardwood.

Wisconsin Lutheran never trailed in the game, jumping out to an early 8-2 lead at the 16:26 mark. WLC led by a first-half high nine points twice, at 22-13 and 28-19, before heading into the locker room in front by seven points, 28-21.

WLC shot 35.5 percent (11 for 31) from the floor in the opening half and were led by Laete’s eight points. UW-L shot a comparable 33.3 percent (10 for 30) in the half.

The Warriors, who shot a much-improved 54.5 percent (12 for 22) in the second half, held a double-digit lead for all but 2:13 of the second half. The Eagles got within 10 points, 64-54, at the 2:21 mark, but Wisconsin Lutheran responded by extending its lead to a game-high 17 points, 73-56, with 52 seconds remaining in the contest.

Johnson scored 14 points in the second period to pace the Warriors. She finished 10 for 10 from the charity stripe for the game. The Eagles shot 45.5 percent (15 for 33) from the floor in the half.

Freshman Rachel Hoft scored 13 points on a perfect 4 for 4 from 3-point range to join Laete and Johnson in double figures. The Warriors shot 43.4 percent (23 for 53) from the floor for the game, while out-rebounding the Eagles 39-34. Wisconsin Lutheran went 21 for 24 (87.5 percent) from the free throw line. UW-L was just 6 for 11 from the charity stripe.

Danielle Frank scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Eagles, who finish their season 20-8. Taylor Larson added 10 points and Dana Churchill finished with 10 rebounds. Wisconsin-La Crosse concluded the game shooting 39.7 percent (25 for 63) from the field.