GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Green Bay's experience was on display on Sunday afternoon as the Phoenix defeated Loyola 54-38 for its third-straight Horizon League tournament title. However, the play of an inexperienced junior on both ends of the floor was a major factor in Green Bay cutting down the nets at the Kress Center.
While seniors Adrian Ritchie (DePere, Wis.) and Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) used their experience (260 combined games in Phoenix jerseys) to total 31 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, the efforts of Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) may have been just as pivotal.
Ranger joined Eichler (16) and Ritchie (15) as the third Phoenix player in double figures, and on a day when Green Bay's shots were not falling from the perimeter (5-28 3FGAs), the junior's 12 points in the paint in 25 minutes were crucial.
After entering the season with only 79 career points and one double-figure scoring game, Ranger has scored 10 or more points 11 times as a junior and is averaging 7.5 points per game.
On the defensive end, Ranger battled with First Team All-Horizon League post player Simone Law. Loyola's top player had 12 points and 14 rebounds but shot just 4-of-12 from the field. Ranger grabbed six rebounds, all on the defensive end of the floor, and had two steals.
In the semifinals, Ranger and her teammates also limited Detroit's First Team All-Horizon League post player, Shareta Brown. The Titan's leading scorer was held to 1-of-5 shooting and only nine points, 11 below of her average.
It was the second-straight season that an inexperienced Phoenix player has shined in the championship game. In the 2012 title bout against Detroit, then freshman Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) scored 20 points as Green Bay won 66-53.
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