By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay women's basketball team (21-2, 11-0 HL) will be forgoing its usual white, green and maroon-trimmed home uniforms this Saturday in favor of commemorative pink and grey uniforms in honor of the fifth annual PinkZone game at Green Bay. The Phoenix will host Valparaiso (9-15, 4-7 HL) at 2 p.m. on Saturday with multiple promotions highlighting the fight against breast cancer. Green Bay will also honor its five-member senior class following the contest.
Green Bay is riding a 16-game winning streak that currently ranks as the sixth-best regular season winning streak in program history. The Phoenix swept both games last week with wins over Cleveland State and Youngstown State, led by senior Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.). Eichler was a combined 14-21 from the field with 29 total points over the two-game span and became the 31st member of the Green Bay women's basketball 1,000-point club in the win against Cleveland State.
THINK PINK: Fans are welcomed to wear pink as Saturday marks the fifth annual PinkZone game at Green Bay, benefiting the Patient Assistance Fund at the Cancer TEAM at Bellin Health. Green Bay will wear commemorative pink and grey uniforms that will be auctioned and raffled off until halftime. Broadway Automotive will once again be sponsoring the Miracle Minute dash for cash and will match up to $2,500 in donations collected at the game with all proceeds going to the Patient Assistance Fund. Cellcom will also be giving away pink aluminum water bottles to the first 1,000 fans.
SCOUTING VALPARAISO: The Crusaders have lost three of their past four contests, having last played Thursday night in a home loss to Milwaukee. Saturday's game will be the third time this season Valparaiso plays a Top-25 team after dropping games at Duke and at Louisville earlier this season. Preseason Second-Team All-Horizon League selection Tabitha Gerardot leads the Crusaders with 15.0 points per game. Despite being the only player averaging in double figures, Valpo has three players averaging between 8.7 and 9.2 points per contest.
FIRST TIME AROUND: Hot shooting in the second half led Green Bay to a 78-55 victory at the ARC in Valparaiso on Jan. 26. Senior Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, just two boards and two shares shy of the second triple-double in program history. The Phoenix shot 66.7 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes, helping secure a 23-point victory. The Crusaders became the first team in a 10-game stretch to score more than 50 points after Green Bay had held its previous nine opponents to 49 points or less.
LUKAN LETTING PEOPLE IN THE CLUB: Back on Nov. 30, redshirt sophomore Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) found Ritchie wide open in the corner against Indianapolis. Ritchie sank the triple, becoming the 30th member of the Green Bay women's basketball 1,000-point club. In the win against Cleveland State on Feb. 14, Lukan again had the assist as another player joined the historic club. Lukan found Eichler in the post for a turnaround baby-hook, making her the 31st member of the club.
IN THE POLLS: Green Bay edged Iowa State by one vote to enter the week ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The ranking marks the first time Green Bay, which started the season receiving votes in the AP poll, has cracked the top 25. The Phoenix was the top vote-receiving team in the USA Today Coaches poll for a third-straight week, falling eight votes shy of No. 25 Oklahoma. Green Bay is also ranked second behind Delaware in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 poll with two first-place votes.
SENIOR DAY: As the last Saturday regular-season home game, Green Bay will honor its five-member senior class following the contest against the Crusaders. Fans are invited to stay after the game for a ceremony lasting approximately 30 minutes, featuring a video highlighting the careers of the five players and brief thank-you speeches by each of the seniors.
FOLLOW IT LIVE: Fans can listen live as Bruce VandenPlas will have the call on The Fan 107.5 FM, 1400 AM and TheFan1075.com. Live stats and live video on the Horizon League Network with Brian Nicol on the call will also be available. Be sure to follow @GBPhoenixWBB and @JustinGrones on Twitter for updates throughout the game.
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: Green Bay will close the regular season with three of
the final four games away from home, starting with a trip to Detroit on Feb.
28. The Phoenix opened conference play with a 62-31 victory over the Titans on
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