Women's Basketball Gets 100th Win at Kress Center
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – In a dominating second half performance, the Green Bay women’s basketball team picked up the 100th win in program history at the Kress Events Center as it ran past Valparaiso, 70-42, on Monday evening.
The win marked the 100th victory at the Kress Events Center, which opened its doors for the 2007-08 season. It also gave the Phoenix (13-7, 6-2 HL) its fifth-consecutive Horizon League win, while Valparaiso dropped to 3-18 overall and 1-7 in the conference. Valparaiso’s 42 points marked the lowest offensive output by an opponent this season.
Trailing by two at the half (26-24) the Phoenix used a 14-0 run to start the second stanza as it jumped out to a 38-26 lead with 11:59 on the clock. Green Bay was 6-of-12 (50%) during the run, while holding the Crusaders to a 0-for-7 showing. Junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) had seven of the 14 Phoenix points, while sister Kaili added four.
Megan Lukan started the scoring, grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back up to even the score at 26-all. Green Bay took the lead for good on the next possession as senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) connected on the front end of a pair of free throws just under two minutes in to give the home team its first lead since the 15:03 mark of the first half.
The Lukan sisters combined to score the next seven points and freshman Mehryn Kraker (West Allis, Wis.) added a fastbreak layup from Megan Lukan before Kaili finished the run with a jumper for the 38-26 advantage.
Valpo broke its scoring drought with a Liz Horton layup with 11:19 remaining and also scored on its next possession (10:48), but the Green Bay defensive play went on to hold them without another field goal for the next three minutes as the offense steadily built the advantage to 16 points, 48-32. The Phoenix led by as many as 30 points in the closing seconds before finishing with the final 72-40 margin.
It was a quiet first half for a Phoenix squad which shot just 29.0 percent (9-31) in the opening stanza. Ranger was strong in the opening minutes, going 3-for-4 over 5:19 to help Green Bay take a 9-8 lead at the first media timeout. Neither team registered a point up to the next media timeout (11:49) and the Phoenix didn’t score again until Kraker connected on a three with 9:30 on the clock to tie the game at 12-all.
Green Bay and Valpo both scored on their next two possessions to keep the game tied, 16-16, before the Crusaders took the lead for good in a jumper by Lexi Miller with 6:28 remaining. Valpo led by as many as six points the remainder of the first half as it went into intermission with a 26-24 lead.
Ranger was impressive for the Phoenix in the paint, finishing with a career-high four steals and game-high 16 points and seven rebounds. It was her sixth double-digit scoring performance in the last 10 contests. Buck added a game-high seven rebounds, 15 points and four assists, while Megan Lukan posted a game-high five helpers.
Green Bay rebounded from shooting 29.0 percent (9-31) in the first half to finish the contest at 45.0 percent (27-60). The Phoenix also outrebounded the Crusaders, 40-32, and owned a 36-16 advantage in the paint.
Valpo shot 36.2 percent (17-47) for the game and was led by 13 points from Lexi Miller.
Green Bay returns to the hardwood on Saturday for the second half of the Horizon League season, traveling to UIC for a 3 p.m. contest. The Phoenix won the first meeting this season, 66-50, to open the conference season.
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