By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Lockdown defense has always been a staple of the Green Bay women's basketball program, dating back to the early days under inaugural head coach Carol Hammerle. Forty years later the tradition is as strong as ever, as the 2012-13 version of the Phoenix (12-2, 2-0 Horizon League) led by Kevin Borseth currently ranks second among 343 NCAA Division I teams in scoring defense, giving up just 46.9 points per game.
"We're stingy," said Borseth, who is in the first year of his second stint at Green Bay. "The kids play hard. They play really hard and they help each other and they're in the right spot at the right time guarding the ball. I think (the success) is a culmination of the years of drilling that they've had. I think we're just reinforcing it now that this year has come around and they're doing a pretty good job with it."
Green Bay has won seven straight contests heading into the second week of its Horizon League schedule, a stretch in which the Phoenix has allowed just 40.0 points per game while holding its opponents to 29.1 percent shooting. Green Bay has held all seven opponents to 46 points or less during the streak, including three totals in the 30s.
To watch a video feature on Green Bay's recent defensive success, click here.
Last week the Phoenix shut down two of the league's top scorers in Detroit's Shareta Brown and Wright State's Kim Demmings, holding them to a combined 11 points in a pair of home victories. Brown, who entered the contest ranked second in the nation in scoring (26.0 points per game) managed just eight points on 2-of-4 shooting, while Demmings, the conference's Preseason Player of the Year, was held to a career-low three points on 1-of-13 shooting. Demmings, who was coming off a 35-point performance in the league opener at Milwaukee, had previously reached double-figures in 37 consecutive games.
The 62-31 win over Detroit on Jan. 8 represented the second-lowest point total surrendered in the last 29 seasons for Green Bay, and the lowest since holding Northern Arizona to 27 during the 2007-08 campaign. The Phoenix has held 10 of its 14 opponents this season under 50 points, and four under 40 points.
Aiding Green Bay's defensive success in 2012-13 has been the team's ability to create turnovers. The Phoenix, which ranks 10th in the country in turnover margin (+7.14), has forced at least 17 turnovers in every game this season. Senior Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) leads the Horizon League with 44 steals (3.1 per game), a total that includes a career-high seven in the win over Detroit.
The Phoenix will look to continue its defensive dominance this week as it opens a four-game Horizon League road trip at Cleveland State on Thursday at 6 p.m.
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