Sweet 16th: Phoenix Captures Horizon League Regular Season Title
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – For the 16th-consecutive season the Green Bay women’s basketball team earned a Horizon League regular season title as it posted a commanding 67-52 victory over Oakland on Thursday evening at the Kress Center.
Green Bay improved to 19-8 overall and 12-3 in the Horizon League, guaranteeing a share of the conference title and top seed for the upcoming tournament. The run of 16 seasons is currently the longest active streak in the nation.
Four Phoenix finished in double figures, led by a career-high 19 points from senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.). Freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) added 16, classmate Mehryn Kraker had 12 and junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) chipped in 10.
Oakland scored the first points of the game and maintained a lead midway through the half, going up by as many as five points (16-11) with 10:17 remaining. Green Bay slowly chipped away at the lead, starting with a banked three point shot from Megan Lukan and another three from Buck to give the Phoenix its first lead of the contest, 17-16, with 9:34 on the clock.
The lead exchanged hands twice over the next four minutes before yet another three, this time by Kraker put the Phoenix ahead for good, 22-21, with 6:55 remaining. The Kraker three started an 11-2 run by Green Bay to put their lead at seven points (30-23) with 3:40 remaining, with the freshman totaling eight of the 11 points. Sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) hit the back end of a pair of free throws, while Buck hit a running jumper to account for the other three points.
Olivia Nash ended the Phoenix streak with a three, but Green Bay senior Sam Zastrow (Algoma, Wis.) responded on the other end of the court to spark a 10-5 Phoenix run that gave the team a 40-31 lead going into the break.
Green Bay put the game out of reach early in the second half, opening the stanza with an 11-2 run over 3:45 to assume and 18-point lead, 51-33. Ranger scored back-to-back buckets in the paint to start the run before Kraker added a three and Kaili Lukan and Buck each connected on jumpers. Oakland never got closer than 12 points down the stretch as Green Bay earned the 67-52 triumph.
All 12 Phoenix took to the court in the game, with eight denting the scoreboard. Kaili Lukan finished with a game-high six rebounds, while Kraker and Buck had a game-high four assists apiece. As a team Green Bay finished shooting over 50 percent for the fifth time this season, going 27-for-50 (54.0%) from the field and 7-for-12 (58.3%) from deep. The Phoenix also controlled the boards, 33-30, and outscored the Golden Grizzlies in the paint, 36-22.
Oakland was held to 35.8 percent (19-53) shooting from the field and was paced by 14 points apiece from Elena Popkey and Victoria Lipscomb.
Green Bay concludes the regular season on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Detroit, hosting senior, parents and alumni day.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.