Fearless Phoenix Falls Five Points Short of Sweet 16
AMES, Iowa – Green Bay’s (28-5) cinderella run in the NCAA tournament came to an end in another exciting game that came down the final seconds as Iowa State (25-7) came from behind to beat the Phoenix 60-56.
“In the 18 years I’ve been coaching, I’ve never been more proud of a group of girls in how well they play together and how hard they work. How the game ended is disappointing now but these girl’s fought Iowa State tough, they (ISU) just made bigger plays in the end,” said head coach Matt Bollant.
As the old saying goes, ‘Basketball is a game of runs’, couldn’t have been more true tonight.
After a called travel on her post move, Kayla Tetschlag (Sheboygan, Wis.) nailed back to back three-pointers, scoring eight of Green Bay’s first 10 points. Green Bay led 10-0 the first four minutes of the game until freshman Anna Prins drained a three from the left wing to put the Cyclones on the board.
Tetschlag was unstoppable in the first half as she poured in 18 points going 6-8 from the field and 3-4 from three-point range before finishing with a career and game high 29 points.
“It was just one of those games I didn’t want to go back to Green Bay with a loss; I just wanted to be a leader as best I could tonight and show these girls I had confidence,” said Tetschlag who tied the Green Bay NCAA tournament record for most points scored.
Iowa State then had its run of 11-2 spanning over four minutes and cutting Green Bay’s lead to one before freshman Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) drained her lone three-pointer of the night.
After a 13-2 run late in the first half by the Phoenix, ISU closed the gap to three with 1.7 seconds remaining before it turned the ball over. Bollant quickly substituted strong-arm Heather Golden (De Pere, Wis.) who threw a long ball to Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) for the tip in at the buzzer boosting Green Bay's lead to 34-29 lead at the break.
Green Bay scored 12 points in the paint and 13 off ISU’s six turnovers in the first half while shooting 52 percent from the field compared to the Cyclones 33 percent.
At the 11:38 mark in the second half, ISU cut Green Bay’s lead to one (45-44) off a back door cut before the Phoenix turned the ball over and Heather Golden (De Pere, Wis.) fouled on a Cyclones fast break to which it tied up the score 45-45 at the charity stripe.
With 9:02 to play ISU took the 48-47 lead thanks to a three-pointer by Denae Stuckey from the left corner. Tetschlag scored her 26th point in the paint to boost Green Bay’s lead 51-48 with 6:21 to play.
With 3:32 to play the Cyclones took a 54-53 lead off a Chelsea Poppens layup in the paint before Tetschlag answered with her game-high fourth three-pointer to give Green Bay the 56-54 advantage. After Green Bay couldn’t convert on an ISU turnover, Kelsey Bolte drained a three from the left wing to give Iowa State the lead for good.
Green Bay called time-out with 17.9 seconds left trailing 56-57 and with 8.0 seconds left Celeste Hoewisch (Hortonville, Wis.) made a baseline drive and was blocked forcing to turn the ball over.
“You can’t break down the final score with one play but the ref thought he made the right call and we just had to play through it. It’s just really disappointing to go down like this,” said Hoewisch who finished with four points shooting a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
Green Bay finished the game shooting 10-10 from the free-throw line tying its team's NCAA record for free-throw percentage. The Phoenix shot 41.7 percent compared to ISU’s 37 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range compared to the Cyclone’s 33 percent.
In the end though, the biggest statistic that mattered was the score and that’s where ISU beat Green Bay ending its historic run in the NCAA tournament. Green Bay finishes its season with a 28-5 record and next year will return every player from this year’s roster.
“We grew so much this year and in this tournament. I couldn’t be prouder of this team, I just love these girls so much,” said Tetschlag who was selected as the ESPN2 player of the game.