No. 10/10 Green Bay Hosts Detroit in Championship Game Sunday
By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The top-seeded No. 10/10 Green Bay (29-1, 17-1 HL) women's basketball team will look to avenge its lone season loss as it faces No. 2 seed Detroit (20-12, 14-4 HL) in the Horizon League championship game Sunday at 12 p.m. at the Kress Events Center.
Sunday's game will be the sixth time Green Bay and Detroit have met in the title game of the Horizon League Championship with the Phoenix owning an overall record of 4-1. Green Bay has won a record 11 conference tournament titles, 10 in the Horizon League, while Detroit owns two Horizon League Tournament crowns (1987, 1997).
Under reigning Horizon League Coach of the Year, Green Bay fifth-year head coach Matt Bollant is 10-2 in Horizon League Championship play, winning two titles (2009, 2011). Sunday will be the first time Bollant faces his former assistant and current Detroit head coach Autumn Rademacher in the Horizon League championship game. The two coaches led their respective teams in a quarterfinal meeting in the 2009 tournament with eventual champion Green Bay edging the Titans 60-46.
The championship game will feature two of the top five scorers in the league in Horizon League Player of the Year, Green Bay's Julie Wojta (Francis Creek, Wis.) leading the league with 19.5 points per game and First Team All-League selection in Detroit freshman Shareta Brown who is fifth averaging 15.5 points per contest. Brown leads the way in field-goal percentage (.565) while Wojta is second (.520).
Throughout this week's Horizon League Championship, Green Bay has had three players averaging in double-figure scoring including Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) who is leading the Phoenix with an average of 17.0 points per game while Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) is chipping in an average of 16.5 points with Wojta adding 15.0 points. Wojta leads the way on the glass, grabbing an average of eight boards in quarterfinal and semifinal action.
Detroit enters Sunday's contest with four players scoring in double figures with Brown leading the way averaging 24.5 points per game while Jalesa Jones is chipping in an average 14.0 points in the past two games. Sophomore Megan Hatter is contributing 10.5 points per game in Horizon League Championship play while Chanahl Putnam is posting 10.0 points per contest. Horizon League Sixth Player of the Year, Yar Shayok leads the Titans on the boards, grabbing an average 6.0 throughout quarterfinal and semifinal play.
HOW THEY GOT THERE... Detroit advanced to its first championship game since 2004 with a 79-43 win over No. 7 seed Cleveland State in its quarterfinal game Mar. 7. The Titans then went on to hold off No. 3 seed Wright State, 78-70, in semifinal play at the Kress Events Center Mar. 9.
As the No. 1 seed, Green Bay battled No. 9 seed Valparaiso to a 77-53 win in quarterfinal action before capturing a 73-53 victory over No. 4 seed UIC in Friday's semifinal contest.
REGULAR SEASON REWIND... Detroit is the lone squad to beat Green Bay in regular season play. The Titans halted the program-record 40-game regular season winning streak and 36-game regular season winning streak against Horizon League opponents. It was Green Bay's first loss on its home court in 28 games of play. Wojta and Ritchie each scored 31 points in the regular season series to lead the Phoenix while Wojta led Green Bay averaging nine rebounds per game. Green Bay shot a season-low 29 percent (20-of-67) from the field in the loss.
The Phoenix was without its best on-the-ball defender in its lone season loss with Eichler missing the contest after suffering a sprained ankle in practice Feb. 7.
WOJTA THE WARRIOR... Wojta has had a record regular season with the Phoenix, moving into the top 10 in nine statistical categories on Green Bay's individual career record list. After pouring in 13 points in Green Bay's semifinal win, the Horizon League Player and Defensive Player of the Year moved up to fourth in scoring with 1,579 career points. With 268 career steals, the Wooden Award Finalist is one steal shy of moving to fifth on Green Bay's career record list. Wojta ranks sixth with 818 rebounds and 620 field goals made, and is three free throws shy of tying Assistant Coach Amanda Leonhard-Perry who has 283 during her career, ranking sixth on the career record list.
Wojta's 33rd career double double performance in the Horizon League semifinal against UIC set a new Division I program record. In Green Bay's quarterfinal game against Valpo Mar. 7, Wojta's game high six steals put her atop the individual season record list with 105 steals. Entering Sunday's championship game, Wojta has 107 career steals. The senior captain will make her 100th career start in a Phoenix uniform.
In addition to earning Horizon League Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-League and All-Defensive Team honors, Wojta was recently named to the John R. Wooden Finalist ballot, is a midseason addition to the Wade Trophy watch list, Naismith midseason 32 watch list, and Capital One Academic All-America Second Team selection.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT US... Wojta is not the only player to write her name in Green Bay's record book this season. Second Team All-League selection Adrian Ritchie is tied for seventh on the individual career record list with 123 made three-point field goals and sixth with 340 three-point field goal attempts. Classmate Lydia Bauer is tied for sixth on the individual season record list with 144 three-point field goals attempted while Ritchie is eighth with 139 attempts beyond the arc. Meanwhile senior Hannah Quilling (Eau Claire, Wis.) is one of 12 players in program history that has played in 124 games or more in a Phoenix uniform.
20-WIN SEASONS... With its 29-1 record, Green Bay has 13 consecutive 20-win seasons. This season marks the fourth time in program history Green Bay has had 29 wins or more in a single season. With a win in Sunday's championship game, it would be the second time in program history the Phoenix has amassed 30 wins in a season, second behind last season's record 34 wins.
FOLLOW THE ACTION LIVE... Sunday's Horizon League Championship game will be broadcast live on ESPNU with Jim Barbar and Julianne Viani with the call. Fans can track live stats of the game on GreenBayPhoenix.com here.
The Green Bay ticket office in the Kress Center will be open Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fans can also order tickets by phone by calling 920.465.2625 on Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Green Bay will host a NCAA Tournament Send-Off Celebration and Selection Show Party on Monday at the Kress Events Center beginning at 5:30 p.m. For more information, click here.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.