Green Bay Honors its Tradition, Defeats Rival Milwaukee
By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With dozens of former Green Bay women's basketball greats in attendance, the Phoenix was able to push past rival Milwaukee with a 64-49 win in the first of four straight games at home. The win improved Green Bay to 19-2 overall and 9-0 in the Horizon League, while Milwaukee fell to 5-15 and 1-7 in conference play.
Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) continued to dominate the post in the win, as she scored the first four points of the game for the Phoenix. Fellow senior Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.), who finished the game at 990 career points, completed a three-point play to open a 7-2 lead just over two minutes into the game.
Milwaukee's Emily Decorah hit her first of five three's on the night to cut Green Bay's lead to 9-7 with 16:11 remaining. Decorah tied a career high with five triples on 5-10 shooting, while the rest of her teammates shot just 1-13 from behind the arc.
The Panthers were able to take a 17-14 lead off another Decorah three, But a Sension layup and three free throws from Jenny Gilbertson (Wabasha, Minn.) over two possessions helped Green Bay spark a 15-1 run over a six-minute stretch, giving the Phoenix a 29-18 lead. Milwaukee was able to come back with a 10-1 run of its own, cutting Green Bay's lead to 30-28 heading into the break.
The Panthers struck first to open the half, knotting the score at 30-30. Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) was able to cut Milwaukee's run with a three, and after a Sension runner Bauer hit another triple to push the lead to 38-33. Both Sension and Bauer each finished with a team-high 14 points, including a 4-of-5 performance from long range by Bauer.
The Phoenix was able to push the lead back to double digits at 45-35 after Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.), while falling to the ground, was able to find an open Gilbertson for three. Gilbertson finished with six points and three rebounds.
During a 16-2 run for the Phoenix, Milwaukee's Janna Swopshire drove to the basket with 8:27 remaining. Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) rejected her shot with a fierce block, and Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) found Ritchie for the finish, pushing the lead to 52-39. Ranger scored in the post off a feed from Gilbertson with 3:25 remaining to push the lead to 20 at 61-41 heading into the final media timeout.
Milwaukee closed the game on an 8-1 run over the final 2:18, but it wasn't enough to overcome Green Bay's double-digit lead. With just 49 points, the Panthers became the 14th opponent in 21 games this season that failed to reach 50 or more points.
In addition to Bauer and Sension with 14 points apiece, Eichler finished with 11 points and was just one shy of her career high with seven assists. Ritchie added nine and both Gilbertson and Ranger had six, while Lukan pitched in three.
Milwaukee was led by Decorah and Ashley Green who each had 15 points. Sami Tucker added seven, while Angela Rodriguez was held to just two points on 1-10 shooting.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: Green Bay is in the midst of a four-game homestand, and will play its next three games at the Kress Center. The Phoenix will host Cleveland State on Thursday at 7 p.m. for the second meeting this season. Green Bay was down 12 points against the Vikings on their home court on Jan. 17, but was able to come back for a 52-49 win.
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