Women's Basketball Concludes Regular Season at Home
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – With just two games remaining Horizon League regular season action, the Green Bay women’s basketball team will look to finish strong at home as it welcomes Oakland on Thursday before hosting Detroit on Saturday.
With just two games remaining, the Phoenix needs to win one of those games to assure at least a share of its 16th-consecutive Horizon League regular season title, the longest active streak in the nation. Green Bay started the conference season 1-2 but has since gone 10-1, with its only loss during the streak coming at the hands of Youngstown State on February 23.
Live audio with Bruce VandenPlas on the call will be available for free via GreenBayPhoenix.com or on the Green Bay Phoenix App on IOS and Android devices. Video of the game will be available online for free through the Horizon League Network.
Thursday’s contest is just the fourth overall meeting between Green Bay and Horizon League newcomer Oakland. Green Bay has won the previous three meetings, including a 74-58 victory on January 30 in Oakland. The Phoenix also topped the Golden Grizzlies on the road during the 2005-06 season and at home during the 2006-07 campaign.
Green Bay is coming off a 2-0 weekend with wins at Wright State and Valparaiso last week. In an overtime thriller against Wright State last Thursday, the Phoenix outscored the Raiders 11-4 in overtime to help move them into sole possession of first place. It then came down to the wire at Valparaiso, but a big three point shot by freshman Mehryn Kraker (West Allis, Wis.) with 21 seconds remaining and the shot clock winding down secured the win.
Sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) is averaging a team-best 12.1 points per game, while senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) averages 6.6 rebounds per game and is shooting a conference-best 54.1 percent from the field. As a team the Phoenix ranks seventh in the conference in scoring average (68.5) but is tops in scoring defense, limiting the opposition to 59.2 points per game.
Oakland is 12-15 overall and 7-7 in the Horizon League this season and is coming off an 81-71 win over Cleveland State last Thursday. The Golden Grizzlies lead the conference in blocks per game (4.1) and trail just Green Bay in assists per game (15.8). Senior Kim Bee leads the conference with 2.2 blocks per game and also averages a tem-best 7.8 rebounds per game, while classmate Victoria Lipscomb has a conference-best 1.8 assist/turnover ratio. Senior Bethany Watterworth leads the team with 14.7 points per game.
1. Title Hunt: With two games remaining in the Horizon League regular season, Green Bay needs to win just one of two of those contests to capture at least a share of its 16th-consecutive Horizon League regular season title. If it holds up, the Phoenix would build upon the nation’s current longest winning streak of regular season titles.
2. Trophy Buck: Freshman Tesha Buck is making quite an impact in her first season with the Phoenix. Buck is just the second true freshman to start for the Phoenix since 1998, joining Sarah Eichler (2009) on the list. Named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week on four occasions this season, including receiving the honor this week, Buck has already surpassed her predecessor’s numbers from her freshman campaign in every category, posting 270 points (186), 140 rebounds (88), 104 assists (47), nine blocks (2) and 48 steals (40).
3. Helping Hand: As a team, Green Bay currently leads the conference averaging 16.2 assists per game with a 1.1 assist/turnover ratio. The team’s distribution has improved steadily over the conference season, where Green Bay has dished out 237 assists on 356 made baskets in 14 contests. The Phoenix has also recorded 18 or more helpers in eight of the last 11 contests including 22 against Milwaukee on Feb. 15.
4. Off the Bench: The Green Bay reserves have provided an offensive spark in the last six contests, averaging 24.2 points per game, including a conference season-high 35 at UIC on Feb. 8. A bench player has been the leading scorer in two of the six games, with freshman Sam Terry pacing the team at UIC and against Youngstown State. The Phoenix has received contributions from everyone on its roster this season, and has had 10 or more players score in a game seven times.
5. Road Warriors: This season Green Bay is just 6-5 (4-2 HL) at the Kress Center, but an impressive 10-3 on the road (6-1 HL). Before this season the Phoenix had never lost more than two games at the Kress Center since it opened in 2007-08, and had not lost five or more games at home since it went 10-6 during the 1992-93 season.
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