Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Right on
the edge of cracking the Top-25, the Green Bay women's basketball team will
head to Chicago to face Loyola on Thursday as the 26th-best team in the nation.
After receiving votes for the last two weeks in both polls, the RV/RV Phoenix (17-2,
7-0 HL) is the top team receiving votes in both the AP Top-25 poll and the USA
Today Coaches poll. The dominating post play of both Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) and Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) has played a major factor in
this and the team's 12-game winning streak.
After spending her first three years as a reserve player,
Sension has shined in her senior season as a regular starter averaging 11.0
points and 5.1 rebounds per game. She recorded her first career double-double
on Nov. 22 against James Madison with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and notched
her second on Saturday in a 99-53 win against UIC with 12 points and 10 boards.
Averaging 24.1 minutes per game, she's connecting on 49.7 percent of her shots-good
for the fifth-best mark in the Horizon League.
After appearing in 18 games as a freshman in 2009-10,
Ranger redshirted the 2010-11 campaign before returning for the 2011-12 season.
In her first two seasons combined, she averaged just 1.9 points and 1.8
rebounds per game. This year, the Skokie, Ill. native has seen her confidence
level grow and her percentages and averages skyrocket. Ranger is averaging 7.4
points and 4.2 rebounds per game on an incredible 57.8 percent from the floor,
the Horizon League's second-best percentage. She's scored in double figures six
times this season, including the last three games.
In Saturday's win over UIC, Ranger set a career high
with 16 points on nearly 78 percent shooting after tying her then-career high
of 14 on Jan. 28 at Wright State. In the home win against Wright State, she
recorded her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Sension and Ranger score a combined 18.4 points per
game on 53.8 shooting, and offer a seamless transition when either player subs
in or out.
"Not many teams can say they have two post players who
are so interchangeable and talented, usually a team has a lot of strong play
from its guards," senior Adrian Ritchie (De
Pere, Wis.) said. "Steph has gotten extremely talented with her post moves, and
anything you throw to Breannah in the post, she has the ability to go up and
get it no matter how many people are guarding her."
The Phoenix will look for continued success from its
down-low duo in Thursday's game at Loyola. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. with the game
carried live on the Horizon League Network.
Green Bay is the
top team receiving votes in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls. The
Phoenix received 31 votes in this week's AP Poll and 27 in the USA Today Coaches
The Phoenix is ranked No. 19 in the NCAA RPI poll, and also holds down the No. 2 spot in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
The Phoenix ranks
fourth in the nation in scoring defense at 47.5 points per game, just 0.3
points per game behind the national leader Albany.
Green Bay ranks
in the top-10 in Division I in assist-to-turnover ratio (4th), turnover margin
(6th), and assists per game (10th).
In the win
against UIC, Green Bay broke a 27-year-old record for team assists in a single
game with 34. In a total team effort, only two of the Phoenix's 36 field goals
didn't have an assist.
As a team, Green
Bay is shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from long range.
The team has also improved tremendously at the free throw line since the
beginning of the season, and boasts a 68.6 percent mark.
The win over UIC
was the 12th straight for the Phoenix, which hasn't lost since a 54-50 setback
at Central Michigan on Dec. 5.
win, the Kress Center hosted its 200,000th women's basketball fan and now has a
total attendance of 200,609 in its five-year history. Green Bay leads the Horizon
League in attendance at 2,253 fans per game.
Senior Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) needs
just 27 points to become the second Green Bay player to join the 1,000-point
club this season. Adrian Ritchie became the 30th member of the club on Nov. 30th
against Indianapolis after she drilled an open three from the corner.
Redshirt senior Jenny Gilbertson (Wabasha, Minn.) had a
career day against UIC as she had her first career double-double with 14 points
and 13 rebounds-both career highs. Gilbertson has averaged 8.0 points per game
during the last four games and averages 3.9 per game overall.
Ellen Edison (Maple Grove, Minn.)
made her minutes count against UIC as she made her first collegiate triple. She
grabbed a steal and hit both of her free throw attempts, giving her a
career-high five points.
Ritchie and Sarah Eichler had career highs in assists against UIC with eight.
It was the first time Eichler hit the mark, and the third for Ritchie who had
eight on two other occasions this season.
less than four minutes per game for the majority of the first half of the
season, redshirt junior Sam Zastrow (Algoma,
Wis.) has played an average of 17.3 minutes per game over the past four contests.
She tied a career high with four points at Valparaiso on Jan. 26, set a career
high for rebounds with four at Wright State on Jan. 28 and has had career highs
in assists and steals with three and two twice this season.
For the latest and most up-to-date information
on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.