Ritchie's Career Day Leads Phoenix to 75-48 Home-Opening Win
By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - For the fifth consecutive season, the Green Bay women's basketball team opens its season with a 2-0 record after a 75-48 win over Central Michigan (1-2) Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Kress Events Center. Senior Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) recorded her first career double double performance with a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Phoenix.
"It was a nice margin of victory and definitely hard fought," said head coach Kevin Borseth who coached his first regular season game at the Kress Events Center. "We had to spend every ounce of energy we had and our top five kids played a lot of minutes in the process because Central Michigan is a very good team."
Neither team led by more than three points in the opening half until Ritchie hit her first three of the contest from the right wing to give Green Bay the four-point advantage (12-8) with 9:03 left.
With 5:14 to play in the first half, Central Michigan cut the Phoenix lead to 16-14 with a jumper from Crystal Bradford. Two minutes later Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.)drained her lone three of the half from left wing to give Green Bay the 19-14 advantage.
"In the beginning of the game, we didn't find our rhythm like we have been working on in practice," Ritchie said of the team's slow start. "We had open threes but they just weren't going in because it's hard to make those shots when it's a second thought. Once we got in our rhythm, the shots started to fall and we all contributed."
Shooting 7-for-25 from the field with 3:22 to play, Ritchie added a three to make it 22-14 while Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) dialed in from long range with one of her game-high four threes in the final 2:18 of the half, giving the Phoenix the 25-16 lead. Bauer's three with 24 seconds remaining gave Green Bay its largest lead of the half (32-18).
The Phoenix 16-4 run in the final five minutes of the half featured four three pointers to lead 32-20 at the break, shooting 37 percent from the field and 26 percent from three-point range. Ritchie poured in 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in first half action while sophomore Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) dished out five assists.
Central Michigan opened the first 1:15 in the second half with two three pointers to cut Green Bay's lead to eight (34-26), but that's as close as the Chippewas would come to the Phoenix. Ritchie answered with her third three of the contest to put the Phoenix lead back into a double digit advantage (37-26).
With 10:23 to play in the game, Ritchie sparked an 11-0 run for Green Bay with a layup in the paint to give the Phoenix the 52-37 lead. Moments later as she was falling to the ground, Ritchie threw up an underhand layup for her 25th point of the game and career-high 11th field goal.
"Green Bay is one of those programs where any player can step up at any time and it's about getting who is ever open the ball," said Ritchie. "Overall this is a really good team win for us and on the other side of the ball our defense is looking good and we have a long way to go but it's going to be positive for sure."
The Chippewas sank a pair of free throws with 6:12 to play to end their four minute scoring drought and cut the Phoenix lead to 22 (61-39) and came as close as 17 (62-45) after a jump shot from Bradford with 3:21 remaining.
Senior Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) tied her career-high seven rebounds grabbing a defensive board with 2:22 to play and added 14 points in the contest. It was the first time in Sension's career the forward scored in double digits in consecutive games.
Freshman Brionna Barnett (Elkhart, Ind.) scored all of her six points of the contest in the final 1:26 of the game, including her first collegiate career three pointer.
In addition to Ritchie's, Sension's and Barnett's career days, Lukan dished out a career-high eight assists. Eichler and Bauer each added 12 points in the win with Bauer sinking four three pointers and grabbing six rebounds. As a team, Green Bay shot 46 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range while out rebounding Central Michigan 42-36.
UP NEXT: For the third consecutive season Green Bay will once again compete in a regular season tournament over the Thanksgiving holiday as it travels to Cancun, Mexico Nov. 22-24 for the Cancun Challenge, competing in three games in three days. The Phoenix will battle James Madison (Nov. 22) before facing SEC opponent Missouri (Nov. 23) and wrapping up the tournament with Richmond (Nov. 24).
Season tickets, Pick 5 packages and single-game tickets for both men's and women's basketball programs are currently on sale with the Green Bay ticket office. For more information, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com/tickets.
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