Defensive Battle Awaits Phoenix in Second Round
By: Jill Wunrow
AMES, Iowa (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - For the third consecutive season, the No. 10/10 Green Bay (31-1) women's basketball team will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament as it faces No. 12/11 Kentucky (26-6) Monday, Mar. 19 at 8:30 p.m. at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Monday's game will be the first meeting between No. 5 seed Green Bay and No. 2 seed Kentucky with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16 in Kingston.
Both teams are making their third-consecutive trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with Green Bay owning a 1-1 record, advancing to the program's first Sweet 16 appearance last season. The Wildcats lone win in the second round over the past three seasons came in 2010 when they advanced to the Elite Eight.
The Phoenix advanced to Monday's second round game with a 71-57 win over host, No. 10 seed Iowa State (18-13) in the first round. Green Bay led the entire contest with four players scoring in double figures including Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) and Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) who had a game-high 16 points while Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) chipped in 15 while grabbing a game-high six rebounds. All-American candidate Julie Wojta (Francis Creek, Wis.) added 14 points and grabbed a game-high and NCAA Tournament program-best six steals.
Kentucky outlasted McNeese State with a 68-62 win in its first round game which featured five lead changes. Six players scored at least eight points in the Wildcats win with Keyla Snowden leading the way with 11 points and Azia Bishop adding 10. Kentucky grabbed 58 rebounds with Samarie Walker grabbing a game-high 13 boards, tying a UK program record in an NCAA Tournament game.
Green Bay joins a list of 20 teams (including Baylor, Stanford, and Delaware this season) who entered the NCAA Tournament with at least 30 wins and no more than one loss. All 16 of the previous teams advanced at least as far as the Sweet 16. With an appearance in this year's tournament, seniors Julie Wojta (Francis Creek, Wis.) and Hannah Quilling have played in more NCAA Tournament games (7) than any other Phoenix players in the 39-year history of the program.
Monday's game features the two top defensive teams in the country. Kentucky leads the nation in turnover margin (+10.3) while Green Bay is second (+9.4) in the statistic. Of the 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament field, both Kentucky and Green Bay rank fifth with 12.5 steals per game.
CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR... Monday's contest will feature the top players in the Horizon League and SEC in Green Bay's Julie Wojta and Kentucky's A'dia Mathies. Both received Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference and All-Defensive team honors in their respective conferences with Wojta earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Horizon League.
Mathies leads the Wildcats with 15.4 points per game while Wojta leads the Phoenix with 19.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
RELIABLE RITCHIE... Second Team All-League selection Adrian Ritchie has proven to be reliable for the Phoenix when it comes to NCAA Tournament play. In her six NCAA Tournament games, the 5-foot-11 guard is averaging 10.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. In Green Bay's first round win over Iowa State, Ritchie poured in 15 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. The junior guard thrives under deadline situations as twice this season she has made last-minute game-deciding shots. The junior sank a three with 0.6 second remaining against then No. 25 Georgia Tech to send the game into overtime. After Green Bay trailed by nine with 59 seconds to play in regulation against Youngstown State, Ritchie poured in nine points, including three game-tying free throws with 19 seconds to play to send the game into overtime.
RECORD BREAKERS... In Green Bay's first round win over Iowa State, the Phoenix tied or broke five program NCAA Tournament records. Green Bay's 29 three-point field goals attempted against Iowa State set a program record while its nine made in the first half was a season best. Its 20 steals in the game shattered its program-record 14 in an NCAA Tournament contest while forcing Iowa State to turn the ball over 30 times was also a program-best performance. Sarah Eichler's 10 three point field-goal attempts is a program best in an NCAA Tournament along with Julie Wojta's game-high six steals.
ON TELEVISION...Green Bay's contest against Iowa State can be watched on ESPN2 and ESPN3. To watch the game on ESPN3.com, click here.
LIVE STATS... To follow live stats of Monday's second round game, click here.
LIVE CHAT... During the game on Saturday evening, fans can participate in a live chat and share their comments with GreenBayPhoenix.com. To access the live chat and sign up for an email reminder, visit the Tournament Central Page.
SOCIAL MEDIA... As always, Green Bay will keep you up to speed with the Phoenix on and off the court through social media. Follow and like the following for the latest updates, pictures and information from Iowa.
- Green Bay Phoenix - @GBPhoenix
- Green Bay Women's Basketball - @GBPhoenixWBB
- Andrew Gavin - @GBGavin
- Ryan Hartwig - @RyanHartwig
The meeting between Green Bay, the Horizon League regular season and tournament champions and Kentucky, regular season SEC champions, will take place at Hilton Coliseum on Monday, March 19 at 8:30 p.m. CT with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16.
For ticketing information, please visit Cyclones.com. Single-session tickets are being sold for $18 for adults and #13 for youth.
To follow all of the action throughout Green Bay's trip to the NCAA Tournament, check out Tournament Central presented by Taco Bell.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.