Defense Shines in Win Over St. Bonaventure
By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay women's basketball team (10-2) continued its streak of defensive dominance in a 61-42 victory over St. Bonaventure (7-8) to close non-conference play on Saturday afternoon at the Kress Center. The win marks the fourth time this season the Phoenix has held an opponent to 30 percent shooting or less, and the eighth time Green Bay's tenth-best defense in Division I has not allowed an opponent to reach 50 points.
"St. Bonaventure was a hard team to guard, they were very patient and did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball," head coach Kevin Borseth said. "I never really felt comfortable and felt like we had a lot of gaps, but when you look at the score sheet and see the amount of points we held them to, it wasn't too bad."
Redshirt senior Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) and senior Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) broke an early back-and-forth game by each hitting a triple, sparking a 16-5 run over the final 12:42 of the first half. Bauer finished with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds on 5-8 shooting and 3-for-5 from long range while Sension added 12 points shooting 50 percent from the floor.
Leading 18-12 with 7:56 remaining in the first half, senior Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) drilled a three to spark a 12-0 run over the next five and a half minutes that saw Ritchie and Bauer add five points each.
With 2.6 seconds remaining in the first half Bauer launched a shot from half court that nearly went in, but freshman Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario, Canada) grabbed the rebound and was fouled. With a tenth of a second on the clock the younger of Green Bay's two Lukan's hit one of two free throw attempts to give the Phoenix a 32-15 halftime lead.
After shooting 0-for-6 from behind the arc in the first half, St. Bonaventure connected on six of 10 attempts from long range in the second half, coming as close as 15 points with 11:47 remaining. After St. Bonaventure's Ashley Zahn hit a three, Green Bay responded with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes. Redshirt junior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) dominated the post in the second half, working towards a career-high 14 points on 70 percent shooting.
With 4:28 remaining, redshirt junior Sam Zastrow (Algoma, Wis.) drove to the basket through the entire St. Bonaventure defense and laid it in to record her first points of the season and extend the lead to 57-31. The 26-point advantage was the largest the Phoenix held in the game.
St. Bonaventure scored late points from Katie Healy and Nyla Rueter, but Green Bay's reserve players, which all saw time on the court, were able to hold the double-digit advantage. Healy finished with a game-high 16 points, while Rueter added 11.
The Phoenix continued its streak of dominance in the paint, outscoring the Bonnies 36-10 for the game with a 20-0 advantage in the second half. During the five-game winning streak, Green Bay has outscored opponents 172-50 in the paint and has held opponents to an average of just 41 points per contest.
With the non-conference slate in the books, Green Bay will open Horizon League play on Tuesday, Jan. 8 in a highly anticipated matchup against Detroit. Green Bay defeated the Titans in the 2012 Horizon League Championship game, and Detroit was picked to finish second behind the Phoenix in the 2012-13 Preseason Horizon League poll. Following the matchup with Detroit, Green Bay will stay at home to host Wright State on Saturday, Jan. 12.
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