By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Unable to overcome a 15-2 run that spanned both halves by the visiting South Dakota State Jackrabbits, the Green Bay women’s basketball team saw its 19 game home winning streak come to an end as it fell to SDSU, 54-66, on Saturday afternoon at the Kress Center.
The Jackrabbits (6-4) outscored the Phoenix 15-2 over a stretch of 6:48 to earn the program’s first ever win over Green Bay. Meanwhile, the Phoenix (6-2) saw its home winning streak of 19 games, dating back to February 9, 2012 (vs. Detroit), come to an end.
Despite the losing effort, Green Bay sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontairo) recorded the first double-double of her career finishing with a game-high 14 points in addition to 10 rebounds, while senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) added 12 points and junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) had 10 points.
South Dakota State scored the first points of the game and assumed an early 4-3 advantage before Green Bay found its stride. Setting up its offense in the lane, the Phoenix took the lead (6-4) for the first time in the contest on a Megan Lukan layup and-1 play. Green Bay continued to pound the ball into the paint, slowly building its advantage to seven points (14-7) with 12:39 remaining. Twelve of Green Bay’s 14 points in the early going came in the lane, with the other two points coming on free throws after and-1 plays.
The Jackrabbits worked their way back into the contest, using a 7-0 run highlighted by five points from Tara Heiser to knot the score at 14-14 with 8:33 remaining. However, the Phoenix responded with an 11-3 run over the next four minutes to assume its largest lead of the game, 25-17, at the 4:43 mark. Five different players scored for the Phoenix during the run that started with a free throw by Ranger.
Another Jackrabbits run, this time a 10-2 scoring edge to close the half tied the game at 27-27 going into the break. SDSU shared the wealth during the run, with four different Jackrabbits registering a point as the team tied the game for the third time.
Green Bay outshot SDSU in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 44.0 percent (11-25) from the field compared to 36.7 percent (11-30) for its opponents. Both squads struggled from deep, as the Phoenix was just 1-for-9 (11.1%) and the Jackrabbits were 2-for-11 (18.2%).
Extending its scoring advantage, SDSU opened the second stanza with a 7-0 run to assume its largest lead of the game, 34-27 with 17:55 remaining, a lead it did not relinquish the rest of the way.
Green Bay worked its way back into the contest, using a 10-5 edge in scoring to pull back to within two points (44-42) with 11:02 remaining. However, it was all the closer the squad got in the contest as each time the Phoenix mounted a rally the Jackrabbits were able to respond.
Green Bay finished the game shooting just 34.0 percent (18-53) compared to 43.9 percent (25-57) from SDSU. The Jackrabbits also controlled the boards with a 44-33 difference, and utilized its bench with 24 points, while the Phoenix had just nine from its reserves.
SDSU was led by 13 points apiece from Tara Heiser and Mariah Clarin, who finished the game with a double-double adding a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Phoenix returns to action next Sunday as it hosts Wichita State at 1:00 p.m.
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