Beyond the Box Score: Freshman Buck Delivers on Big Stage
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – With 1:30 remaining in Friday’s semifinal against UIC, freshman Tesha Buck caught the ball on the left wing. It was early in the shot clock and the Phoenix was leading by eight and looking to run clock. But after a brief pause Buck shot it anyway. She was too open. Too confident. Swish. Game Over.
It was the perfect exclamation point for the biggest game of the true freshman’s young career. For 33 minutes of action, Buck did what she has done throughout her rookie campaign – she delivered.
The Horizon League Freshman of the Year sparked the Phoenix to a 68-59 win and vaulted her team into Sunday’s title game of the Horizon League Championship. The effort was not just impressive because of her career-high 24 points. Rather, it was how she stepped up and delivered with the confidence of a seasoned vet.
After the teams looked tight in trading three-straight turnovers to start the game, Buck drained a three from the right wing. UIC responded to take control of the scoreboard and lead 17-11 midway through the opening half, and Buck knocked down a triple.
The Flames were back up 24-17 with 4:53 to play before halftime, and Buck knocked down her third triple to start an 11-0 spurt which also included her fourth three-pointer.
UIC closed to 31-30 right before the half, and Buck drove to the rim and completed a three-point play which sent the top-seeded Phoenix into the locker room in front 34-30. Buck had half of her team’s points at intermission.
Buck finished the game 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from long range en route to her career-high point total. But for Buck, it has never been just about scoring, and rebounding was another area she delivered on Friday night.
The Flames, the Horizon League’s top rebounding team, got the first nine rebounds of Friday’s game while building their lead. Led by Buck’s eight defensive rebounds, Green Bay held a 31-28 edge on the glass the rest of the way.
On Sunday, Green Bay will play Wright State on national television with a trip to the NCAA Tournament on the line. Don’t expect the stage to be too big for Tesha Buck.
For more on the 2014 Horizon League Women’s Basketball Championship, please visit championship central.For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.