By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay women's basketball team had its final tune-up in exhibition play as the Phoenix dominated the first half against Michigan Tech en route to a 75-36 win Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Kress Events Center. The game also marked the fifth anniversary of Green Bay women's basketball at the Kress Center.
Green Bay went on an 8-0 run early in the contest before MTU's Sam Hoyt sank a three from the right wing to cut the Phoenix lead in half (10-5) with 15:05 remaining in the opening half. With a 25-7 lead, senior Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) sank one of her two threes of the contest from the left wing with 7:34 to play to play in the half.
With 1:14 remaining in the opening half of play, Michigan Tech's Sam Hoyt drained a three pointer from the right wing as the shot clock expired, ending the nearly 10 minute scoring drought by the Huskies. Michigan Tech scored five of its first-half 12 points in the final 1:14 of the half to trail the Phoenix 38-12 at the break.
In first half action, Green Bay's defense forced Michigan Tech to turn the ball over 16 times, converting the miscues to 25 points. Senior Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) went 5-for-6 from the field to lead all players with 12 points in first half action including six points in a span of 1:16 early in the contest. Redshirt sophomore Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) grabbed five offensive boards in the first half of play, leading all players with six at the break.
Senior Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) opened second half play scoring seven points in a span of three-and-a-half minutes, including her lone three pointer of the contest at the 16:30 mark.
Sarah Eichler added eight points in the second half before finishing with a game-high 20, finishing 8-for-9 from the field. In addition to Sarah Eichler's 20 points, classmates Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) and Bauer also finished in double-figure scoring for the Phoenix chipping in 13 and 10 points respectively.
"A lot of my points tonight were layups and I credit my teammates who handed out the assist and found me on the play," Sarah Eichler said. "I had the opportunity to post up a few times and we had the advantage tonight because they were playing behind us. We've been working on our post moves and finishing layups so that definitely helped to our advantage tonight."
As a team, Green Bay scored 42 points off Michigan Tech's 31 turnovers with freshman Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) leading all players with four steals on the night in 19 minutes of play.
"I thought our defense was very aggressive; I thought we did a great job getting out in the passing lanes and making things happen," said head coach Kevin Borseth. "Our players were aggressive and outhustled Michigan Tech which was good so our points off turnovers and points in the paint (44) were big numbers for us tonight."
Offensively Green Bay shot 50 percent from the field, 42 percent from three-point range and 43 percent from the free-throw line. Megan Lukan led all players with seven rebounds in the game while senior Jenny Gilbertson (Wabasha, Minn.) grabbed five.
EICHLER'S OFFENSIVE EFFORTS: Known for her defensive play throughout her career, since last season Sarah Eichler has been working on being more of an offensive threat on the court as well. Eichler poured in 38 points in 41 minutes of play in Green Bay's pair of exhibition games.
"Sarah has been pretty efficient and when we need things to happen, she's the vocal leader that makes sure it gets done," Borseth said of the senior's performance.
FLASHY FRESHMAN: With one of the largest freshman classes in program history, there is much anticipation with how the newest members of the Phoenix squad will transition from prep to collegiate play. With the class of seven contributing a combined total of over 130 minutes in exhibition play, Kaili Lukan has certainly proven she can contribute for the Phoenix right away.
One of the fastest players on the team, Kaili Lukan has registered a combined seven steals and 18 points in 32 minutes of play during the exhibition season.
"Her international play has really helped her considerably because she comes on the court and doesn't back down from anybody," Borseth said. "She makes a very good savvy basketball player and does things you just can't teach, very good defender, great speed, great scorer and will see quite a bit of action for us."
RITCHIE REUNION: Tonight's exhibition game also marked the first time Adrian Ritchie and her younger sister Jillian have battled each other on the court. Though the two teams met last season in exhibition play, Jillian did not play in the game but tonight the sisters had the rare opportunity to match up against each other during a couple possessions.
"It was interesting playing against her. Though I was still in game mode, seeing her out of the corner of my eye changes things a little bit but I still had a job to do," Adrian said. "It was really fun and it was a good thing for our family too just to see us out there together."
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: With exhibition play in the books, Green Bay prepares to open up regular season play as it travels to Northern Iowa Saturday, Nov. 10 to tip off the 2012-13 season at 2:30 p.m. The Phoenix hosts Central Michigan Saturday, Nov. 17 in its home opener at 2 p.m. at the Kress Events Center.
Season tickets, Pick 5 packages and single-game tickets for both men's and women's basketball programs are currently on sale with the Green Bay ticket office. For more information, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
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