Women's Basketball Evens Season Series with Milwaukee, 81-69
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Overcoming a sluggish start to the game, the Green Bay women’s basketball team recovered to close the first stanza on a 22-7 run and held off a late second half surge by the Panthers as it evened the season series with its in-state rival Milwaukee with an 81-69 win on Saturday afternoon at the Klotsche Center.
The win moved the Phoenix to 15-7 overall and 8-2 in the Horizon league, while the Panthers dropped to 7-16 overall and 3-7 in the conference.
Milwaukee came out with the hot hand to start the game, capitalizing on shooting from deep to lead by as many as five points (11-6) with 15:34 remaining.
Green Bay tied the game three times over the next 8:11, but was unable to grab the lead. Trailing 21-18 with 7:23 remaining in the first half, the Phoenix then went on a big 22-7 run to close the stanza and take a 40-28 lead going into halftime.
Sophomore Ellen Edison (Maple Grove, Minn.) started the run for the Phoenix, driving into the lane and sinking a jumper before being fouled, making the free throw to complete the and-1. The next trip down the court freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) hit on a three and after a Milwaukee offensive foul and turnover on the Panthers Sydney Howard, Edison was again fouled, this time on a three-point attempt and she was sent to the line where she made all three attempts.
An and-1 completion by freshman Mariah Monke (Fergus Falls, Minn.) ended a 12-0 run by the Phoenix as it pushed its lead to 30-21 with 4:28 remaining. Avyanna Young ended a scoreless drought of 4:37 for Milwaukee, but Green Bay closed with a 10-5 scoring advantage to put its lead at 12 points at intermission.
Bench play was key for Green Bay in the opening stanza with almost half of its points (19) coming from the reserves, while senior Sam Zastrow (Algoma, Wis.) provided strong rebounding and leadership at the point to guide the Phoenix after junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) got into foul trouble.
“It’s important to have kids come off the bench that are ready to play. It’s a tight game and we’re playing against a quality opponent so they have to be ready to play when they step on the court,” Borseth said. “But they practice hard and push our starters so when they get out on the court they are prepared for a game situation and that was really important today.”
“Sam Zastrow had a great game for us, and she really gave us huge minutes in the first half when Megan was out,” Borseth said. “She came up with some big rebounds and was a great leader for our squad today.”
The Phoenix started the second half where it left off, opening on an 8-2 run to force a Milwaukee timeout as Green Bay assumed its largest lead of the game at 18 points (48-30) with 16:49 remaining. Four different Phoenix had a point during the run, started by Megan Lukan who after being held without a point in the first half drove to the lane and made a layup 30 seconds in. Senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.), sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) and Monke also scored during the run.
“We knew starting the second half strong was important,” Borseth Said. “We had them in the same situation as the last time we played them and we let them get back in that time, so this time we knew we had to be strong.
“We hit key buckets and had some key defensive stops until the final four minutes, but I thought we achieved our goal coming out of the locker room.”
Milwaukee used a 10-2 run to get to within 10 points (50-40) with 12:09 remaining, but Green Bay went on another run, this time 25-13, to assume its largest lead of the contest at 22 points (75-53) with just over four minutes remaining.
The Panthers made it interesting, going on a 13-0 run over the closing four minutes to cut the advantage to single digits with under a minute to play (75-66). Green Bay allowed Milwaukee to hang around as it struggled from the free throw line down the stretch, but the Phoenix maintained composure and held on for the 81-69 triumph.
Green Bay finished the game shooting 43.5 percent (27-62) from the field and 37.0 percent (10-27) from deep, with 22 assists on 27 made field goals. The Phoenix also owned a 30-18 advantage in the paint and 24-5 off the bench. Milwaukee finished shooting 41.1 percent (23-56) from the field, while rebounds were even at 37 apiece.
Four Phoenix finished with double-digit scoring, led by 17 from Kaili Lukan, 15 by Megan Lukan, 13 from Buck and 12 from Monke. Kaili Lukan also added a team-high eight rebounds while freshman Mehryn Kraker (West Allis, Wis.) dished out a career-high six assists.
Milwaukee was paced by a game-high 22 points from Angela Rodriguez and a game-high 10 rebounds from Avyanna Young.
Green Bay returns to action next Friday, hosting Cleveland State at 7 p.m.
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