By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With two hard-fought road wins last week, the Green Bay women's basketball team (14-2, 4-0 HL) will look to push its winning streak to 10 games in an afternoon battle at Valparaiso (7-10, 2-2 HL) on Saturday. Tipoff will be at 1:35 with the game carried live on the Horizon League Network and on WDUZ The Fan.
Green Bay opened its four-game road stretch last week with wins at Cleveland State and at Youngstown State. In the win against the Vikings, the Phoenix trailed by as much as 12 points before slowly chipping away at Cleveland State's lead in a back-and-forth second half. Senior Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) banked in a three with 1:35 remaining, sealing the 52-49 comeback win for Green Bay.
The Phoenix then held Youngstown State to just 41 points in a 59-41 win that was sparked by superb three-point shooting from Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) and Jenny Gilbertson (Wabasha, Minn.), who hit 2-of-2 and 3-of-4 from behind the arc, respectively.
SCOUTING VALPARAISO: The Crusaders closed a two-game road trip with an 84-72 win at Milwaukee on Thursday, after dropping the first game of the trip at UIC and have now won three of their last five games. Valparaiso is currently in a four-way tie for third place in the Horizon League, and the 84 points in the win at Milwaukee was a team-high for the season.
WINNING STREAK NOTES: Green Bay enters Saturday's contest looking for its 10th straight win, dating back to a 55-46 win at Marquette on Dec. 8. During the streak, the Phoenix has allowed an average of just 41.1 points per game and hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 49 points. In the last nine games, Green Bay has held opponents to just 30.7 percent from the field while outscoring other teams by an average of 19.8 points per game, and has forced 20.6 turnovers per contest. On two occasions during the streak, the Phoenix forced a tied-season high 26 turnovers.
THE NATION'S BEST: Green Bay's scoring defense currently ranks first in the nation at 46.7 points per game. The Phoenix has held 12 of 16 opponents under 50 points this season, and Detroit's 31 points in a 62-31 win on Jan. 8 was the third-lowest mark by an opponent in 30 years. If the season ended today, Green Bay's scoring defense would be the second-best mark in NCAA women's basketball history.
RECEIVING VOTES: After a nine-week hiatus, Green Bay is back in the national spotlight after receiving votes in both the AP Top-25 poll and the USA Today Coaches' poll. The Phoenix received one vote in the AP poll and two votes in the Coaches' poll, and is also ranked second with two first-place votes in the Mid-Major Top-25 poll.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Green Bay holds a 25-4 all-time record against Valparaiso and has won 10 straight in the series. Green Bay faced Valparaiso just twice in Kevin Borseth's first stint at Green Bay, with the Phoenix winning both matchups. The Phoenix has scored 90 or more points four times against the Crusaders, including two occasions that rank in the top-10 in program history for most points in a game. Green Bay defeated Valparaiso 99-73 during the 1990-91 season, tied for the sixth-most points in a game. In the first all-time meeting during the 1986-87 campaign, the Phoenix won 97-65-tied for the ninth-most points in a game in team history.
Dec. 9, 1986
The Phoenix plays at Valparaiso for the first all-time meeting between the two schools, and comes away with a 97-65 victory. Green Bay's 97 points tied for the ninth-most in a game in program history.
Jan. 17, 1991
Nearly a year after the first loss to Valparaiso in series history, Green Bay's offense goes off against the Crusaders, tallying almost 100 points in a 99-73 win. The mark is tied for the sixth-highest in program history.
Nov. 27, 1999
The Phoenix plays Valpo for the first time in more than five years, and comes away with a 57-50 win. It was the first of two meetings between the two schools during Kevin Borseth's first tenure at Green Bay.
Jan. 19, 2008
The series resumes between Green Bay and Valpo after a break of more than seven years, and the Crusaders win at home 90-88 in the only overtime game in series history. The loss was the last for Green Bay against Valparaiso, who has since won 10 straight.
March 7, 2012
No. 10/10 Green Bay faces Valparaiso in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Horizon League Tournament, and the Crusaders open the game on a 10-7 run. The Phoenix regroups and responds with a 13-0 run, and eventually wins 77-53 to advance to the semifinal round against UIC.
FOLLOW IT LIVE: Fans can listen live on Saturday as Bruce VandenPlas will have the call on The Fan 107.5 FM and 1400 AM. Live stats and live video on the Horizon League Network will also be available for the game at Valparaiso. Be sure to follow @GBPhoenixWBB and @JustinGrones on Twitter for updates throughout the game.
SUCCESS FROM THE BENCH: Redshirt senior Jenny Gilbertson and redshirt juniors Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) and Sam Zastrow (Algoma, Wis.) helped lift Green Bay in the win at Youngstown State. Gilbertson drilled three three's in the second half, while Ranger scored six points and grabbed four rebounds. Zastrow played a career-high 18 minutes, grabbing three rebounds and adding two assists and two steals.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: Green Bay will play its final game in a stretch of
four straight games away from the Kress Center on Monday at Wright State for a
6 p.m. central time game. The Phoenix defeated the Raiders 71-44 at home on Jan. 12.
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