Women's Basketball Looks to Even Season Series Against Milwaukee
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay women’s basketball team will look to even the season series against Milwaukee as it travels to take on the Panthers on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Klotsche Center.
Fans can listen live to the game for free via GreenBayPhoenix.com or on the Green Bay Phoenix App on IOS and Android devices. The game will be available online for free through the Horizon League Network, and live stats will also be provided through UWMPanthers.com.
Saturday’s game also marks Milwaukee’s annual "PINK OUT" game. The Panthers and Phoenix tip off at 2 p.m., but doors open at 1 p.m. for health fair booths, a 50/50 raffle and food from Qdoba. Wear PINK and get in for just $3 or pick up a commemorative pink t-shirt with a donation. The team will also be wearing special PINK jerseys that will be auctioned off after the contest.
In-state rivals Green Bay and Milwaukee will be meeting for the 76th time on Saturday. The Phoenix leads the all-time series, 57-17, despite dropping the first meeting this season. Green Bay has won the last seven meetings in Milwaukee, last losing during the 2005-06 campaign.
Milwaukee took the first meeting this season, earning a 75-64 triumph over the Phoenix on January 11 at the Kress Events Center. Entering halftime with a 37-28 lead, Green Bay couldn’t contain a hot shooting Milwaukee squad as the Panthers opened the second stanza on a 14-3 run en route to topping the Phoenix. The loss halted a 17-game Phoenix winning streak against Milwaukee. Despite the loss sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) finished with a game- and career-high 25 points. Senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) notched her fourth double-double of the season, registering 13 points and 10 rebounds.
After starting the conference season 1-2, Green Bay has rattled off six-consecutive wins to stand atop the Horizon League standings at 14-7 overall and 7-2 in league play. The Phoenix have four different players leading the top statistical categories, with Kaili Lukan leading in points (12.4), Ranger in rebounding (7.1), junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) in assists (4.4), freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) in steals (1.8) and freshman Mariah Monke (Fergus Falls, Minn.) in blocks (0.7).
Milwaukee currently owns an overall record of 7-15 and a 3-6 mark in the Horizon League. After beating the Phoenix to open their conference slate, the Panthers have gone 2-6, including dropping its last two contests in Michigan. In its most recent game last Saturday Milwaukee fell to Detroit, 80-68. Leading 54-51 with just under 12 minutes remaining, Detroit went on to outscore the Panthers 29-14 to close the game and pick up its first conference win. Angela Rodriguez leads the team averaging 17.6 points, 5.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game while Ashley Green averages 14.1 points and Avyanna Young has 13.0 points per game and a team-leading 9.0 rebounds per game.
1. Stat Stuffers: Seeing diversity from its top players this season, Green Bay currently boasts two players that rank among the conference leaders in four statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists and steals. Junior Megan Lukan (9.5 pts., 5.4 reb., 4.4 ast., 1.5 stl.) and freshman Tesha Buck (9.9 pts., 5.4 reb., 4.0 ast., 1.8 stl.) join Wright State junior Kim Demmings and Oakland sophomore Elena Popkey as the only individuals ranked in each of the aforementioned categories.
2. Hot Hand: Freshman Mehryn Kraker proved to be the catalyst for the Green Bay offense over the past four games. Against Oakland on Jan. 30, Kraker led the Phoenix with 16 points before going on to record a career-high 30 points, nine rebounds and two steals versus Detroit on Feb. 1. The 30 point performance was the first for a Phoenix player since Julie Wojta did it during the 2011-12 season. In the last four contests, Kraker is averaging 18.3 points while shooting 65.8 percent (25-38) from the field and 60.7 percent (17-28) from deep.
3. Sharp Shooter: Serving as the senior leader for the Phoenix this season, Breannah Ranger has stepped up her play during the Horizon League season. In nine conference games Ranger is shooting 65.1 percent (41-63) from the field while averaging 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She has shot over 50.0 percent in all but one of those games and recorded double-digit point efforts in six contests. Meanwhile, her 64.9 shooting percentage is tops among the Horizon League in conference-only competition and her 52.9 percent (91-172) shooting for the season is also tops.
4. Freshman Sensation: Freshman Tesha Buck is making quite an impact in her first season with the Phoenix. Buck is just the second true freshman to start for the Phoenix since 1998, joining Sarah Eichler (2009) on the list. Named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week on three occasions this season, Buck has already surpassed her predecessor’s numbers from her freshman campaign in every category but steals, posting 207 points (186), 113 rebounds (88), 84 assists (47), eight blocks (2) and 38 steals (40).
5. Feed it in: Green Bay has been able to capitalize on offensive production in the paint this season, receiving 46.2 percent (668-1446) of its total points from the lane while outscoring its opponents in the category by a +278 point margin (668-390). Green Bay has received more paint points than its opposition in all but one game this season, a loss to South Dakota State (12/7). Senior Breannah Ranger leads all Phoenix with 182 points in the paint.
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