By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - It wasn't always pretty, but the RV/RV Green Bay women's basketball team was able to win its 13th straight game with a 65-62 victory at Loyola on a snowy Chicago Thursday night. The win improved the Phoenix to 18-2 and 8-0 in the Horizon League, while Loyola dropped to 7-13 and 2-5 in conference play.
Back-to-back scores from Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) in the final minutes sealed the win for the Phoenix in a game where neither team led by more than six points.
Green Bay opened the game with a 2-0 lead after Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) bounced a shot off the glass. Loyola wasted no time responding with a 4-2 advantage, the first of seven lead changes in the opening frame. Both teams went back and forth until the Ramblers established an 11-8 lead with 10:37 remaining. Sension drew a foul on a putback attempt, hit both from the line and cut the deficit to 11-10.
Senior Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) drilled a three to put Green Bay back on top at 17-16 with 5:15 remaining in the half, but the Ramblers replied with a 7-0 run to take a 23-17 lead. The lead was the largest Loyola would hold on the night.
Jenny Gilbertson (Wabasha, Minn.) hit her lone three of the night with 3:52 remaining in the half to cut the deficit to 23-20, and a basket plus the foul from Breannah Ranger cut Loyola's lead to 26-25 going into the half.
Sension gave Green Bay the spark it needed to open the half, completing a three-point play to start a 9-2 run. Ritchie scored on consecutive possessions to push the advantage to 34-28, the largest lead the Phoenix would hold in the game.
A three from Loyola's Monica Albano just seconds later cut Green Bay's lead to just 34-33. Albano finished with a game-high 23 points.
The Phoenix held on in the back-and-forth battle until the Ramblers took a one-point lead with 9:04 remaining. A technical foul on the Loyola bench gave Ritchie two attempts from the charity stripe, and she delivered to regain the lead at 49-48.
Both teams were in the bonus with 7:50 remaining, and the Ramblers used a one-and-one to hold a 53-52 advantage. Loyola's Taylor Johnson stole the ball and laid it in on the other end for a 57-55 Loyola lead at the 3:41 mark, but Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) used a spin move in the post to knot things at 57-57. The tie was short-lived, however, as a Lyndsey Book three put the Ramblers back on top 60-57.
With the shot clock winding down, redshirt sophomore Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) drove through three Ramblers and laid it in, drawing the foul in the process. She completed the three-point play to tie things at 60-60 with 2:43 left in the game. Troy Hambric put Loyola back on top with a putback attempt with less than two minutes to play, but Ranger used a shot fake in the post to give the game its eighth and final tie with 1:32 remaining.
Ranger scored again in the post on Green Bay's next possession, and Bauer added a free throw with 18 seconds remaining. Loyola had the ball in the final seconds, but Ayrealle Beavers' attempt from behind the arc with two seconds remaining rimmed off to seal the 65-62 win for the Phoenix.
Ritchie led Green Bay with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Ranger added 11 and five boards. Sension had nine and six, while Lukan added nine points on a perfect 5-5 from the line. Four Phoenix players had two assists, while Bauer and Sension each had two steals. The Phoenix shot a season-low 14.3 percent from behind the arc hitting just 2 of 14 attempts from long range, but shot better than 75 percent from the free-throw line for the fourth straight game.
Green Bay will return home to host Milwaukee on Saturday as part of Alumni Weekend, kicking off a four-game homestand. Numerous former Phoenix players will be in attendance, and banners will be unveiled recognizing the accomplishments of Green Bay's teams before the program moved to Division I for the 1981-82 season.
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