Phoenix Falls in HL Title Game to Wright State, 69-88
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay women’s basketball team entered halftime with the lead, but an 11-0 run by Wright State to open the second half gave the visitors a lead they would not relinquish as they took home the Horizon League Tournament title with an 88-69 win on Sunday afternoon at the Kress Events Center.
Wright State improved to 26-8 on the season and earned the League’s automatic bid into the upcoming NCAA Tournament after capturing its first-ever Horizon League Tournament title. With the loss the Phoenix fell to 22-9 on the season and will have to wait to determine its postseason fate.
The win was also Wright State’s first ever in Green Bay, and was the largest opponent score total the Phoenix gave up this season. Tay’er Mingo finished with 31 points, while Horizon League Player of the Year Kim Demmings added 26, with 22 of those points coming in the second half.
Green Bay played a strong first half to take the lead going into halftime. Leading by two points (6-4) five minutes into the contest, Green Bay used a 7-2 run to assume a 13-6 lead with 13:25 on the clock. Freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) hit a running jumper, sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) had back-to-back layups and after a Tayler Stanton layup for the Raiders, freshman Mehryn Kraker (West Allis, Wis.) found an open shot for three to add to the lead.
Green Bay maintained a lead for the next five minutes and went up by as many as nine points (24-15) with 8:04 on the clock before Wright State worked its way back into the game with a 10-0 run to take its first lead of the game since it scored the opening points, 25-24.
Senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) gave the Phoenix back the lead with a layup on the next possession and Kraker drained another three , but Wright State tied it up at 28-all with a long distance basket by Tay’ler Mingo. However, Green Bay closed on a 14-8 run capped by a corner three from Kraker to take a 42-36 lead into halftime.
After sitting out most of the first half with three fouls, Demmings was the key component to the Raiders 11-0 run to open the second half. Ranger scored both of Green Bay’s baskets to start the half and give the home team a 10 point lead (46-36), but Demmings then went on to score nine of the next 11 points to put the visitors up 47-46 at the 16:44 mark and give them a lead they would never relinquish.
The Phoenix stayed close, pulling to within two points (61-63) with 9:35 remaining, but Wright State outscored Green Bay 25-8 down the stretch, including holding the Phoenix to just one field goal as they picked up the win.
Green Bay (30-60, 50%) outshot Wright State (29-66, 43.9%) from the floor, but the difference came in shots from deep, where the Raiders were 45.8 percent (11-24) compared to just 18.8 percent (3-16) for the Phoenix.
Wright State edged Green Bay in rebounding, 38-37, and also forced 24 Green Bay turnovers, turning them into 33 points.
Green Bay will now have to wait until Monday to learn its posteason fate.
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