By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – A young Green Bay women’s basketball squad showed its resilience in a tough non-conference battle against Wichita State on Sunday afternoon, but each time the Phoenix looked to overcome a second-half deficit the visiting Shockers closed the door as they went on to win, 63-58, at the Kress Center.
Green Bay (6-3) dropped its second-consecutive decision at home this season, losing back-to-back games for the first time since the 2009-10 season and back-to-back home games since the 2008-09 campaign. The Shockers improved to 7-2, extending its winning streak to six games.
Three Phoenix finished with double-digit scoring for the game, led by freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) with a game and career-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from behind the arc. Sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while sister junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) chipped in 10 points and a game-best six assists.
It was a close first half, as the lead exchanged hands seven times in the first 20 minutes. Buck started the Phoenix scoring with a three as the Phoenix built to a five-point advantage (8-3) just 16:10 into the contest.
Wichita State responded, eventually tying the game at 11-11 with 14:48 remaining before Green Bay went on a 10-2 run to assume its largest lead of the first half, 21-13, with 9:22 showing on the clock. A feed-in to senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) from Megan Lukan started the run before a flagrant foul from Wichita State’s Michaela Dapprich helped add to the lead. Buck went up for an offensive rebound on the play, and an elbow from Dapprich was deemed a flagrant foul by the officials, giving the Phoenix two free throws and possession of the ball. Freshman Sam Terry (Baraboo, Wis.) stepped to the line and connected on both free throws, and on the ensuing possession Buck found the bucket to put the Phoenix ahead, 17-11.
A Shockers layup broke up the Phoenix scoring, but Ranger then made a fast-break basket before Terry again connected on two free throws to put the Phoenix ahead by eight points, 21-13. Green Bay maintained the eight-point advantage all the way to the 7:15 mark (25-17), but Wichita State slowly chipped away at the lead with a 10-1 run to take back the lead, 27-26, with 3:48 remaining. The lead exchanged hands four times in the final three minutes before WSU’s Michelle Price made the final layup of the opening stanza to give the Shockers a 31-30 halftime lead.
Green Bay went into the half outshooting Wichita State, 43.5 percent (10-23) compared to 37.9 percent (11-29). The Phoenix also owned a 19-17 rebounding advantage and outscored the visitors in the paint, 16-8.
Cold shooting hurt the Phoenix to open the second half, as they were just 3-for-12 (25%) from the field over a span of 12:40. Despite the struggles from the field, the Phoenix remained within two points (49-47) with 8:29 remaining after Kaili Lukan knocked down a pair of free throws. However, back-to-back three’s from WSU’s Marissa Preston and Alex Harden gave the Shockers their largest lead of the contest, 55-47, with 7:20 remaining.
The young Green Bay squad showed its resilience, working its way back into the contest with a layup from freshman Mariah Monke (Fergus Falls, Minn.) and three from Buck to get back to within three points, 55-52, on the next two possessions. But each time the Phoenix threatened, the Shockers found an answer to maintain the lead. A small 4-0 run featuring a basket from Kaili Lukan and two free throws by Ranger got the home team to within a point (57-56) with 2:03 remaining, but Wichita State again shut the door with a jumper by Jamillah Bonner as it went on to win, 63-58.
Green Bay outshot Wichita State for the game, going 17-for-43 (39.5%) while the Shockers were 18-for-49 (36.7%). The Phoenix was also better from three with a 5-for-11 (45.5%) showing compared to 7-for-17 (41.2%) for the visitors. Green Bay also led in rebounding (34-31) and points in the paint (24-14).
Wichita State was led by Michelle Price with a double-double (11 pts., 10 reb.) while Bonner had 15 points and Harden finished with 15.
Green Bay welcomes nationally-ranked Purdue to the Kress Center next Wednesday at 7 p.m. to wrap up its three-game homestand to start the month of December.
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