Women's Basketball to Face Wright State in Horizon League Championship
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – It’s a matchup of the top two teams in the Horizon League on Sunday with a conference tournament title on the line as top-seeded Green Bay (22-8) and second-seeded Wright State (25-8) prepare to battle on Sunday afternoon at noon at the Kress Events Center.
The game will be broadcast live nationally on ESPNU with Jim Barbar and Brooke Weisbrod on the call. 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.
Sunday’s contest for the Horizon League Championship pits the conference’s top defense in Green Bay (58.6 PPG) against the conference’s top offense in Wright State (83.4 PPG). This will be just the second time the two teams have met in the finals, with the Phoenix winning that matchup during the 2004-05 season.
Green Bay won both meetings this season in narrow fashion, earning a 69-67 win at home on January 25 before making the trip to Wright State and winning an overtime thriller, 79-72, on February 27. The Phoenix leads the all-time series 52-3 and has never lost to the Raiders on its home court.
The Phoenix advanced to the championship with wins over No. 9 Valparaiso in the quarterfinals, 72-55, and over No. 4 UIC, 68-59, in the semifinals on Friday night. Three Phoenix are averaging double-digit scoring in the tournament led by a 13.0 average from freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.), who finished the game against UIC with a career-high 24 points. Junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) is averaging 12.0 points, while sister Kaili has averaged 11.0 points.
Wright State’s journey to the championship has included wins over No. 7 Milwaukee, 73-64, and No. 3 Youngstown State, 98-70, in Saturday’s first semifinal. Junior Kim Demmings, Horizon League Player of the Year, leads the team and conference averaging 22.6 points per game, while Ivory James follows with 17.3 points per game. Tayler Stanton has a team-best 8.9 rebounds per game.
1. Defense/Offense: Sunday’s title game will feature the Horizon League’s top defense against the top offense. Green Bay currently leads the conference holding its opponents to just 58.6 points per game and 37.8 percent shooting from the field. The Phoenix is the only team holding its opponents to an average below 60.0 points per game and is also the only defense to allow shooting under 40.0 percent. Meanwhile, Wright State comes in averaging 83.4 points per game along with the top scorer and conference Player of the Year Kim Demmings, who averages 22.6 points per game.
2. In the Tournament: Since joining the Horizon League in 1994-95, Green Bay is 47-7 in the Horizon League postseason tournament, including a 12-3 record in the finals. The Phoenix has emerged victorious in the finals the last nine times it has made an appearance and has faced Wright State once, taking home the title during the 2004-05 season.
3. 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 (2009) on the list. Named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week on four occasions this season and most recently tabbed the conference Freshman of the Year, Buck has already surpassed her predecessor’s numbers from her freshman campaign in every category, posting 312 points (186), 162 rebounds (88), 117 assists (47), nine blocks (2) and 53 steals (40). Against UIC in the HL tournament semifinals, Buck posted a career-high 24 points and shot 5-for-6 from deep. She now has 59 three-point attempts made this season, placing her eighth in the single season record book.
4. Sweet 16th: With a win over Detroit last Saturday the Phoenix claimed the Horizon League regular season title outright, its 16th-consecutive league title. Green Bay has now claimed a regular season title in 16 of its 20 seasons in the Horizon League and has never finished lower than fourth place since joining for the 1994-95 season. The streak of 16 regular season championships is currently the longest active streak in the nation.
5. Roaring Twenties: With a win against Detroit last Saturday, Green Bay locked up its 27th all-time 20+ win season in program history. It also marked the 15th consecutive 20+ win season for the program and 10th under head coach Kevin Borseth, who has reached the mark in all but one season in his time at Green Bay.
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