By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) -
After the Green Bay women's basketball program's most
successful season during the 2010-11 campaign, it's hard to imagine that
success being topped, or even matched in the 2011-12 campaign after losing two
of what most deemed as the most successful players in program history.
As always, the program continues to set new standards, achieving above
and beyond expectations as the 2011-12 season saw the emergence of All-American
candidate in senior Julie Wojta (Francis Creek, Wis.), the most memorable
comeback in program history, along with program records previously thought to
This season marked the second time in program history the Phoenix has
notched 30 wins or more with its record of 31-2. Green Bay has 13 consecutive
seasons with 20 or more wins and its 34th consecutive winning season is the
third longest streak of all-time.
Green Bay once again made its schedule as tough as possible with playing
2011 WNIT champion Toledo twice along with Eastern Michigan who appeared in
this season's NCAA Tournament. Green Bay faced Illinois in the San Juan
Shootout over Thanksgiving break along with Georgia Tech, who advanced to the
Sweet 16 of this year's NCAA Tournament.
For the first time in program history, the Phoenix went undefeated in
both road games and non-conference play, posting a 12-0 and 13-0 record
respectively. In regular season play, Green Bay outscored BCS opponents by an
average of 14.3 points per game, going 4-0 with wins over Illinois (82-62),
Georgia Tech (67-62, ot), Marquette (66-50), and Wisconsin (65-49). Wojta was
one of three players to average in double-figure scoring against BCS opponents
this season, pouring in 19.8 points while grabbing 10.3 rebounds per contest.
AMONG THE LEAGUE...Green Bay won its 14th consecutive regular season conference title, the
nation's longest active streak, posting a 17-1 record, with its lone loss
(70-58) Feb. 9 against Detroit. Green Bay led league play in nine statistical
categories including scoring offense (74.8), scoring margin (+21.3), field goal
percentage (.436), scoring defense (53.5), free throw percentage (.759),
assists (18.2), turnover margin (+11.1), steals (12.6), and assist/turnover
For the second consecutive season, a Green Bay women's basketball player
earned Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors as Wojta
claimed both awards. Wojta was also a First Team All-League and All-League
Defensive Team selection while teammate Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) earned
her first postseason accolade as a Second Team All-League selection. Fifth-year
head coach Matt Bollant earned his second consecutive and fourth Coach of the
Year honor with an impressive 85-5 Horizon League record while leading the
Wojta is the eighth player in Green Bay history to earn Horizon League
Player of the Year honors and second to be recognized as the Defensive Player
of the Year but first to have sole possession of both honors in the same season.
Against conference opponents, Wojta led the league averaging 3.6 steals per
game, was second in both rebounding (10.4) and assist/turnover ratio (1.9),
third in scoring (19.3), and fourth in field goal percentage (.493).
Watch highlights of Wojta's amazing season here.
For the second consecutive season, classmate Hannah Quilling (Eau
Claire, Wis.) led the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.0) with 59 assists and
29 turnovers while finishing sixth among league players with 2.0 steals per
contest. Junior Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) finished fourth in free throw
percentage (.820) while Ritchie was fifth in field goal percentage (.493),
seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.369) and eighth in both steals
per game (1.9) and free throw percentage (.780).
Green Bay captured its 12th conference tournament title (11th in the
Horizon League) with a 66-53 win over No. 2 seed Detroit. It was the second
consecutive and third overall title for the Phoenix under Bollant. Wojta was
named Tournament MVP while averaging 10.7 points and 9.3 rebounds throughout
the three games. Wojta also tied a tournament record, grabbing 12 steals. Wojta
posted double double performances in both the semifinal and championship
contests, including a game-high 29 points and 12 rebounds against Detroit.
Freshman Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) had a career performance in the
championship game pouring in 20 points, going 3-for-5 from three point range
while playing a career-high 39 minutes.
The Phoenix outscored its three opponents (Valpo, UIC, Detroit) by an
average of 19 points per contest in the conference tournament. Green Bay was a
combined 41-of-75 from the field in its second halves of play, outscoring its
opponents 115-76. Green Bay's defense was consistent throughout the tournament
as it gave up 53 points in each of its three games. Green Bay allowed 53 points
six times in 2011-12 and held its opponents to less than 55 points in 16 of 33
NCAA TOURNAMENT PLAY... Green Bay joined a list of 20 teams (including Baylor, Stanford, and
Delaware this season) who entered the NCAA Tournament with at least 30 wins and
no more than one loss. No. 7 seed Green Bay made its 13th NCAA Tournament
appearance, marking its fourth consecutive season it appeared in the tournament
and second consecutive appearance in second round play.
With Green Bay's appearance in this season's big dance, seniors Julie
Wojta and Hannah Quilling have played in more NCAA Tournament games (eight)
than any other Phoenix players in the 39-year history of the program, compiling
a 4-4 record.
Green Bay led the entire contest in its first round game against No. 10
seed Iowa State (18-13), building its halftime lead to 19 (42-23), its largest
lead in an NCAA Tournament game. Its convincing 71-57 win was Green Bay's first
on an opponent's home court in an NCAA Tournament contest. Lydia Bauer (Lake
Zurich, Ill.) and Eichler both sank four three pointers, finishing with a game
high 16 points while Ritchie and Wojta added 15 and 14 respectively. Junior
Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) played key minutes for Green Bay, going
4-for-4 from the field in 13 minutes of play.
Down 17 at the half, its largest deficit of the season, against No. 2
seed Kentucky (27-6) in the second round, Green Bay never quit but rather kept
fighting just like it had all season. After taking a one-point lead with 1:57
to play, the Phoenix fell 65-62 in what is sure to be remembered as one of the best
games in program history.
"The second half is what we are all about," said Quilling after the
game. "It is what Green Bay Basketball is all about, and what we want people to
"We've been blessed. I'm so fortunate to coach these young ladies and
the way they fought in that second half was indicative of who they are," said
Matt Bollant after Green Bay's exit in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Wojta and Eichler led the Phoenix with a game high 16 points. Wojta
grabbed a program NCAA record 10 steals as the Phoenix defense forced Kentucky
a season high 34 turnovers while grabbing 21 steals, both setting program
records in NCAA tournament play.
"We pride ourselves on never quitting and giving everything to this team
for 40 minutes on the court," said Wojta who broke her nose early in the
contest but remained in the game.
RECORD BOOK RESERVATIONS... The 2011-12 season also saw its share of records being broken both on
an individual and team basis.
One of the most memorable performances by an individual this season was
Wojta's performance at Milwaukee Jan. 7 when the five-time Horizon League
Player of the Week grabbed a Horizon League and program record 12 steals, 11 in
the first half of play. In the same contest Wojta also scored a game-high 27
points in 25 minutes of play. Wojta finished the season with a program record
Feb. 11 Green Bay hosted Wright State in a Horizon League battle in
which Wojta grabbed a Kress Center record 20 rebounds while pouring in a
game-high 30 points, becoming the first player in program history to turn in a
30-20 performance. In the same contest, Wojta also set a Kress record with
eight steals while tying the record with a career high four blocks.
Wojta concluded her senior campaign setting program individual season
records with 252 made field goals and was second in points (644), scoring
average (19.5), field goals attempted (491), and rebounds (328). Wojta finishes
her career at Green Bay as one of the most decorated players in program
history. The Wooden Award finalist ranks fourth on the program's individual
career record list with 1,638 points and fifth with 843 rebounds, posting a
Division I program record 35 double doubles.
A Wade Trophy finalist and member of the Naismith Watch List, Wojta's
288 career steals ranks third on Green Bay's individual career record list
while her free throw percentage (.799) ranks fifth, 290 made free throws ranks
sixth, and 363 free throws attempted ranks seventh. Throughout her 124 career
games played, Wojta has dished out 378 assists, ranking sixth on Green Bay's
career record list along with her 642 made field goals. Wojta's 1,289 attempted
field goals and 13.2 points per game scoring average ranks seventh in program
Bauer attempted 163 three-point field goals during her junior campaign
which ranks third on the program's individual season record list while
Ritchie's 148 threes rank seventh. Ritchie's 349 career three-point field goal
attempts ranks fifth on Green Bay's individual career record list.
As a team, Green Bay's defense ranked first in program history with a
turnover margin of +9.5 while it grabbed 427 steals. Offensively, its scoring
margin (+19.2) ranks second in program history along with its 31 wins and
winning percentage (.939).
Though the season may have ended with what some consider a
"heart-breaking" loss, Green Bay's continuous fight not only in its second
round NCAA Tournament game against Kentucky but throughout the season is success
is exactly what you hope for when you're being recruited," said Quilling who
has played 127 career games for the Phoenix. "It's exactly the program you wish
kids dream of being a part of, something that's so much bigger than you."
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