On The Hunt: On the heels of its best season in program history, culminating with a trip to Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the Green Bay women's basketball team enters its 2011-12 campaign with a target on its back. Rather than being "hunted" this season by its opponents, the Phoenix will look to be the hunter, not looking back but rather looking forward to what lies ahead, another successful season. We invite you to join the hunt as players along with head coach Matt Bollant and Assistant Athletics Communications Director Jill Wunrow give you an inside look at the Phoenix during the 2011-12 season.
NCAA TOURNAMENT WEEK - Preparation for the second round vs. No. 2 seed Kentucky
After leading the entire contest and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 71-57 win over No. 10 seed Iowa State, the Phoenix continues its hunt, next up, No. 2 seed Kentucky.
Sunday included media interviews followed by practice and installing the plan to hunt down the Wildcats for a second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. Kentucky and Green Bay lead the nation in turnover margin forcing 10.9 and 9.19 turnovers respectively per game. Kentucky likes to apply full court pressure so Green Bay's ability to handle the pressure will be key to Green Bay's success in advancing to the Sweet 16.
In today's press conference, Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell had the following to say about Kentucky's second round matchup against Green Bay, "There are a lot of things that worry me. I think right now, their versatility on offense and their ability to by physical on defense are big concerns right now."
"I'm going to share with our team that Green Bay is clearly, in my mind, the best seven seed. They are a team that possibly slipped by the committee," Mitchell said.
Green Bay and Kentucky both have weaknesses but whoever is the toughest team will advance to the Sweet 16.
Tip time set for 8:45 p.m. Monday, Mar. 19 on ESPN2.
After a mandatory open lockerroom for 30 minutes, the team was allowed to take the floor at the Hilton Coliseum for its 90 minute practice. The Phoenix had a solid practice before going through about 24 set plays it anticipates seeing from Iowa State.
The most common comment I hear from the ESPN talent crew, NCAA representatives or other media outlets who have never seen the team practice before is how relaxed they are and how much fun they have.
There's no doubt this team is relaxed and confident that when the ball is tipped on Saturday at 5:30, Green Bay basketball will be played just the way it has been all season long.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is the big day...Game Day! Good night from Ames, IA. Go Phoenix!!
NCAA TOURNAMENT WEEK - Final day of practice in Green Bay before heading to Ames, IA
Green Bay focused the opening part of practice on its half-court offense which was given a good review by the coaching staff. The Phoenix then worked on breaking down the scout of its opponent, Iowa State. Green Bay worked on anticipating what Iowa State will do while it's safe to say the Cyclones are doing the same thing in Ames.
Green Bay is one of the hardest working teams in the country and quickness and determination will play key factors in advancing past Iowa State. Overall, it was the best practice of the week as the Phoenix will soon be flying high to Ames, IA.
After a quick lunch in the lockerroom, the team was given some last minute instructions on travel before packing up and heading to its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament trip.
Next entry...from Ames, IA. Go Phoenix!
Today's practice featured the unveiling of the team's new shoes for the NCAA Tournament. Nice look!
Even senior Hannah Quilling got shoes (below) to match her teammates for the first time. Sporting the low tops...as always!
Before practice, coach reminded the team to have intensity and toughness, after all it is NCAA Tournament time. During its full court 2-on-2, 2-on-3 drill, the Phoenix struggled to increase its intensity level to an expected "10". Junior Adrian Ritchie reminded the team of the seniors playing on the court with them and to leave it all on the court.
Today was the first day of practice since Green Bay learned its seed and opponent in its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. No. 7 seed Green Bay will face No. 10 seed Iowa State, Saturday, Mar. 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Practice started with taking care of some paperwork business followed by a team huddle featuring "Happy Birthday" wishes to coach Bollant who turns 41 today!
The coaching staff reminded the team that it's playing in the NCAA Tournament and there are alot of other teams who would love to be in Green Bay's position. Despite community and critics who feel Green Bay got a raw deal in its seed and placement, Bollant and the Phoenix are not focused on the number in front of its name but rather playing their kind of basketball, just the way they have been all season long.
The one-on-one close out drill featured a somersault from Adrian Ritchie when trying to defend while Hannah Quilling took a tumble later on...ouch!
The message throughout practice, that will also be emphasized throughout the week was the following, "Play hard, aggressive and dictate with our defense." Iowa State will play a similar style to Green Bay's Horizon League foe Valparaiso, relying on its three-point shooting.
With its 13-0 record and 33 game regular season winning streak, the Green Bay women's basketball team made its biggest jump of the season in this week's AP Top 25 Poll from No. 17 to No. 14. Its the highest the Phoenix has been ranked at this point in a season. Green Bay's highest ranking in the AP Top 25 Poll is No. 13, coming the week of Mar. 6, 2011.
The AP Top 25 Poll rankings are released on Monday with the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll rankings released weekly on Tuesday.
Hays attended Green Bay's final nonconference home game against Ball State Dec. 20 and afterwards observed the relationship this small Green Bay community has with the nationally-ranked Phoenix.
When asked what his story angle was Hays responded, "I'm hoping to get a story out of Julie Wojta." That should make for a simple assignment considering the senior captain is averaging 19.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
You can check out Hays' blog here and check back with GreenBayPhoenix.com for more updates on Hays' blog and when those thoughts will be published.
Nov. 30, 2011 - Katie Bushman Returns
Nov. 23, 2011 - San Juan Shootout
Green Bay arrived in warm San Juan late Tuesday night (Atlantic Time) for its lone regular season tournament of the season, the San Juan Shootout. Excitement was clearly evident in the players' faces as they explored the hotel area and checked out the Atlantic waves crashing into shore.
After some much needed sleep after a long day of traveling, it was lights out and down to business on Wednesday. Before its two hour practice, coach Bollant reminded the team why they are here and what their purpose in being here is...take care of business.
Following practice the team will have a few hours of free time before touring Old San Juan and El Morro followed by dinner in Old San Juan. Be sure to check out the Green Bay Women's Basketball Facebook page here for daily updates and pictures.
In addition to Green Bay, Rutgers, Arizona State, Illinois and No. 25 Georgia Tech will be competing in the San Juan Shootout.
Thanks so much to the fans who sacrificed time with family to make the trip over the Thanksgiving holiday to cheer on the Phoenix. Special thanks to the FastBreak Club for its support in making this opportunity possible.
Nov. 10, 2011 - Ice Bath
Seniors Hannah Quilling and Julie Wojta were doing some last minute preparation before departing with the team to North Dakota. Wojta and Quilling were laughing about Quilling's new snug-fitting face mask she recently received. Quilling recently broke her nose for the second time since May and now with her new accessory is hoping there won't be a third time. Hannah feels it smooshes her face while Julie doesn't mind the new look.
Meanwhile, Quilling was excited to learn that her classmate, Wojta, is just six points shy of 1,000 for her career. All in all, it was an exciting day in the training room ice tubs!
The Phoenix face the Bison in its first regular season game of the 2011-12 season at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11.
Nov. 8, 2011 - Busy Week
The team is busy preparing for its first regular season game of the 2011-12 season. It will be the 25th consecutive season the Phoenix has opened regular season play on the road. Fifth year head coach Matt Bollant is 4-0 when tipping off the season on the road.
Don't forget the game at North Dakota State has been pushed back to 7:30 p.m. due to the busy sports season transition from fall to winter occurring right now. Totally understandable.
In other news, today is senior Hannah Quilling's birthday. She got an early gift yesterday when she got fitted for a face/nose mask to prevent a third broken nose. Happy Birthday Hannah!!
As Green Bay enters the season ranked in a national poll for the first time in program history, it is also getting some love from ESPN.com as it has ranked the Phoenix No. 24 in its preseason top 25 poll released Monday, Nov. 7. To see the complete ESPN.com poll from the "experts", click here.
Oct. 27, 2011 - Two Days Until Exhibition Play
Tip time is set for 2:00 p.m. Saturday at the Kress Events Center. Get there early because magnet schedules will be handed out at the door. Tickets are only $5; to order, click here.