By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
DETROIT, Mich. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The
#21/23 Green Bay women's basketball team passed a tough test in the Motor City with a
71-63 victory over Detroit on Thursday night. Paced by a second-straight career
outing by reigning Horizon League Co-Player of the Week redshirt sophomore Megan Lukan
(Barrie, Ontario), the Phoenix improved to 23-2 overall and 13-0 in the Horizon
League. More importantly, the win granted the Phoenix the Horizon League
regular season championship outright after claiming at least a share of it last
week. Detroit dropped to 14-11 and 7-6 in conference play with the loss.
In the win, the Phoenix shot 15-36 from long range,
good for a 41.7 percent mark. The team's 15 makes tied for the second-most in a
single game in program history, while 36 attempts tied for third. After going
0-5 from long range in the first half, Lukan went 6-8 in half number two for a
6-13 outing. Her six makes tied for third in program history, while her 13
attempts were the most a Green Bay women's basketball player has ever attempted
in a game.
difference tonight was that Detroit's Shareeta Brown made us shoot outside.
When they stick her down low it's extremely hard to penetrate," head coach
Kevin Borseth said. "We had to resort to shooting a lot of three's tonight, but
we still hit better than 40 percent. When you shoot more than 30 from back
there and better than 40 percent go in, that's pretty impressive and we'll
certainly take it."
Green Bay never trailed in the first half, jumping out
to a 6-0 lead to start the game after the first of four three's on the night
from Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.)
and a three-point play from Stephanie
Sension (Hopkins, Minn.). The Phoenix extended the lead to 9-2 before a 7-0
run from the Titans gave the game its only tie of the opening frame.
Eichler hit the first of four combined three's in a
row to extend the lead to 15-9 before redshirt senior Jenny Gilbertson (Wabasha, Minn.) capped off a 9-0 run with a
triple of her own at the 11:37 mark.
Sension completed another three-point play to put the
Phoenix up 24-16, but Detroit closed the first half on an 11-4 run over the
final five minutes to leave Green Bay with a slim 28-27 lead at the break.
After her ice-cold first half from downtown, Lukan got
Green Bay on the board first in the second half with a three for a 31-27 lead.
Detroit's Shareeta Brown scored her sixth of eight points on the night in the
lane, knotting things at 31-31 shortly after.
Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) scored the next five
points for the Phoenix with a three and a steal leading to a layup, but the
Titans' Senee Shearer, who led the home team with 15 points, tied things up at
36-36 on a three with 15:34 remaining.
Another Lukan triple with 9:59 remaining put Green Bay
up 44-42, sparking a run of a combined five-straight three's. A triple from Detroit's Rosanna Reynolds as
the shot clock expired gave the Titans their first lead of the game at 45-44
with just over nine minutes to play.
Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) had the answer with
the next three, putting Green Bay back on top 47-45. The lead was short-lived,
however, as Destiny Lavita-Stephens put the home team back in charge at 48-47.
From there, it was the Megan Lukan show.
Lukan hit consecutive three's to extend the lead to
53-48 with 7:25 remaining as part of an 11-0 run. Sension took a feed inside
and shot around Brown in the post to give Green Bay a 10-point advantage with a
58-48 lead at the 5:50 mark. After Detroit broke up the run, Lukan hit two more
three's to grant the visitors a 64-52 edge with 4:24 to play.
"Megan Lukan has been incredible these past two games
after starting the season a little slow when it comes to shooting," Borseth
said. "Her confidence has gotten a lot better and she isn't hesitating like she
had been when she would get an open look.
The Titans wouldn't go away easy, as the host team
used a 10-2 run over a three-and-a-half minute stretch to come within four
points with just over a minute to play. However, a layup and two late free
throws from Sension were enough to put the game on ice after three ties and six
lead changes in the second half alone.
Green Bay was paced by Lukan's 20 points, just two shy
of her career high. Before the Valparaiso game on Feb. 23, Lukan had hit just
six of 34 attempts from behind the arc but in the last two games alone, she's
hit 10-21 for a 47.6 mark. Sension added 14 points and five rebounds, while
Eichler had 12 points on a perfect 4-4 from downtown and a game-high six
assists. Bauer added nine points on three three's, and Breannah Ranger (Skokie,
Ill.) grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Behind Shearer's 15 points, Yar Shayok was the only
other Detroit player to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points. The
Titans shot 46.7 percent from the field and hit seven of 20 attempts from long
range, good for a 35.0 percent mark.
The win snapped Detroit's 15-game home winning streak
dating back to last season, making Green Bay the only remaining Horizon League
team with a perfect home record this season. The loss for Detroit was also the
first since its home floor was named after former Detroit men's basketball head
coach Dick Vitale this past December.
NEXT ON THE
SCHEDULE: Green Bay will leave the
Motor City for the Windy City, taking on UIC in Chicago on Saturday. Tipoff
will be at 7 p.m. with the game carried live on the Horizon League network. In
the first meeting this season, Green Bay tied the sixth-best mark for points in
a game with a 99-53 extinguishing of the Flames. The Phoenix also broke the
27-year-old record for assists in a game after recording 34 shares.
For the latest and most up-to-date information
on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.
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