Phoenix Battles Valiantly But Falls to LSU in NCAA First Round, 69-59
March 22, 2009
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Green Bay women's basketball team (29-4) could not overcome a 20-point second-half deficit Sunday evening, as the Phoenix dropped a 69-59 decision to No. 6 seed LSU at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
"Green Bay had a lot of fight about them," said LSU head coach Van Chancellor. "They played really hard today. They never gave up. We had them by 19 or 20 and they never gave in."
LSU was led by Allison Hightower, who had 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Kristen Morris and LaSondra Barrett each had 13 points for the Tigers, while Morris added a game-high 16 rebounds.
"I guess I'm just incredibly proud of our team and the fight that we had throughout the year - to win 21 games going into the tournament and come out today and show the resilience and the fight," said Green Bay head coach Matt Bollant. "Obviously, we're disappointed with the result and how we defended at times. Give LSU a lot of credit."
A second-half run by LSU challenged the Phoenix, as the Tigers scored on seven of its first 10 possessions in the stanza to grow their lead from 10 to 19 and took a 49-30 lead with 14:48 to go. That lead grew to 20 points with 12:37 to play.
But the Phoenix defense was up for a challenge, and Green Bay got defensive stops to slowly chip into the LSU lead, closing to within nine, 63-54, with just over a minute to play. Unfortunately time ran out on Green Bay, as LSU was able to make free throws late to seal the contest.
Green Bay started the contest with a five-point burst, capped by a three by Harty, to own a three-point lead early. A Lavesa Glover layup with 12:16 left in the first tied the game at 11-11, but six straight points by Hightower gave LSU the lead for good. Hightower had 20 of LSU's 35 first-half points as the Tigers led by 10, 35-25, at the break.
The Phoenix battled tough, but the larger LSU squad took advantage in the first half as Glover and Templin each saw limited minutes with two fouls in the stanza. Glover struggled to find her touch, finishing with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. Templin also tallied nine points for the Phoenix.
Green Bay entered the game as the national leader in scoring defense, but LSU posted the second-highest point total on the Phoenix on the year. The setback ended Green Bay's 21-game winning streak, which was tied for second-best in the nation heading into the NCAA tournament.
The Phoenix senior class of Lavesa Glover, Kati Harty, Rachel Porath and Erin Templin aided Green Bay in posting 107 wins over their four years, making the quartet the winningest class in program history.
"This senior class goes out as the winningest in school history; they went 51-1 in the last three years in our conference, so they've accomplished a lot," said Bollant. "They've done a lot for Green Bay, and as a head coach, I'm just thankful for having four great seniors and what they've done for our program."