By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - For a
second straight game, the No. 20/20 Green Bay women's basketball team did not allow the
opposing team to put a player in double-digit scoring as the Phoenix defeated
Loyola 63-37 in the regular season home finale. The win improves Green Bay to
25-2 and 15-0 in the Horizon League, while Loyola evens out at 14-14 and 9-6 in
conference play. The win also improved the Phoenix's winning streak to 20
games, the fourth-longest in program history, while snapping Loyola's
seven-game unbeaten streak.
Redshirt sophomore Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) continued her dominant play and led
the way with 19 points on a 3-6 effort from behind the arc. After going 6-34
from long range in the first 23 games of the season, Lukan boasts an impressive
15-33 mark during the last four games-good for a .455 mark.
Loyola entered the contest as the nation's second-best
team in the turnover category at 11.6 per game, but Green Bay forced 21
Ramblers' turnovers-11 in the first half-tying the most the Windy City team has
committed this season.
"Loyola is a very, very good team and they have a lot
of players that can be a threat in the paint," head coach Kevin Borseth said. "Being able to force those turnovers tonight
was one of the key points to winning this game because Loyola is a great team."
The Ramblers kept the game close to start, holding a
6-5 advantage at the 16:43 mark. It would be the last time Loyola held a lead
as senior Adrian Ritchie (De Pere,
Wis.) scored on a layup and the Phoenix never looked back. The layup sparked an
11-0 run over the next five minutes, helping the home team rush out to a 16-6
lead with 10:48 remaining in the half.
Both offenses stalled in the latter part of the first
half as the Phoenix outscored the Ramblers 11-8 to take a 27-14 lead into the
"Our offense wasn't always at its best tonight but our
defense came up big when we needed it," Ritchie said. "We'll definitely take
having a strong defensive any night, especially when our offense isn't playing
how we'd like it to be playing."
The Ramblers struck first in the second half on a
layup from Taylor Johnson, but a three from Ritchie started a 17-1 run for
Green Bay to open the half. Loyola broke the run at the 15:36 mark when Abby
Skube made the team's first three after the Ramblers had missed their first
nine attempts from long range. Despite the triple, Green Bay still led 44-20.
Lukan hit back-to-back three's to push the lead to
57-30 with 5:11 remaining, the largest lead the Phoenix would hold in the game.
Loyola scored seven points in the final three minutes of the game, but triples
from Jenny Gilbertson (Wabasha,
Minn.) and Ellen Edison (Maple
Grove, Minn.) sealed the 63-37 victory.
Lukan led the way with 19 points and added four
rebounds and four assists, while Ritchie posted 17 points, six rebounds, two
assists and two steals. Gilbertson was the next-highest scorer with nine points
and seven boards. Despite not scoring, senior Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) had a game-high seven assists-pushing
her average to 5.0 shares per game during the past six games.
The Phoenix had 21 assists on 22 field goals, marking
the first time this season the team had an assist on all but one shot. After
shooting just 29.6 percent from the field in the first half, Green Bay made
61.9 percent of its field goal attempts for a 43.8 percent mark overall.
Loyola was led by Simone Law with nine points and as a
team shot just 29.7 percent from the field. The Ramblers connected on just 3-18
from behind the arc for a 16.7 percent mark, and tied a season-high with 21
turnovers. With just 37 total points, the win marks the seventh time this
season Green Bay has held an opponent under 40 points.
NEXT ON THE
SCHEDULE: The Phoenix closes the
2012-13 regular season with a matchup at Milwaukee on Saturday. The Phoenix
defeated the Panthers 64-49 at home on Feb. 9., but Green Bay's rival to the
south has won three of its last five after defeating UIC 72-63 at home on
TALK: Following Saturday's game at
Milwaukee, Green Bay will open the 2013 Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday
as the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinal round. Barring a Phoenix loss, the team
will host the semifinal and championship rounds on Friday and Sunday. In its
five-year history, the Kress Center has hosted every Horizon League Tournament.
For the latest and most up-to-date information
on Green Bay Athletics, please visit GreenBayPhoenix.com.
Follow us on Twitter: @GBPhoenix , @GBPhoenixWBB and @JustinGrones.
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