By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay women’s basketball wraps up the month of December as it travels to face in-state rival Wisconsin for a nationally televised game on Monday at the Kohl Center. Gametime is set for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
Lisa Byington will have the play-by-play call alongside color commentator Debbie Antonelli on the BTN. Fans can also listen to all the action on Green Bay's new radio partner, WNFL 1440 AM. The live audio with Bruce VandenPlas on the call will also be available for free via GreenBayPhoenix.com or on the Green Bay Phoenix App on IOS and Android devices. Live stats will be available through UWBadgers.com.
Monday’s game marks the 30th all-time meeting between in-state rivals Green Bay and Wisconsin. The Badgers lead the all-time series 18-11, but it has been all Phoenix recently. Green Bay has emerged victorious in the last four meetings and won the last three matchups by 15 or more points.
The Phoenix is currently on a three-game skid for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Despite the losses, Green Bay has played strong against a tough slate of opponents (South Dakota State, Wichita State, then-No. 18 Purdue). In each of those contests the Phoenix led by as many as eight points in the first half, and against Wichita State (-5) and Purdue (-4) the final score differential was under five points.
Sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) and freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) currently lead the team averaging 10.3 points/game, while Buck also averages a team-best 1.8 steals and 4.0 assists/game. Senior Breannah Ranger averages a team-leading 7.2 rebounds/game and freshman Mariah Monke (Fergus Falls, Minn.) averages 0.9 blocks/game.
Wisconsin comes into Monday’s contest with an overall record of 6-5. The Badgers have lost three games in a row, including a close 58-56 defeat at the hands of Horizon League opponent UIC on Dec. 21. Wisconsin averages 67.6 points, 38.5 rebounds, 12.8 turnovers, 3.9 steals and 3.9 blocks per game this season. The Badgers have used the same starting five in all 11 games this season, and three of those players are averaging double-digit scoring. Michala Johnson leads the way with 15.2 PPG and 8.4 RPG, followed by Taylor Wurtz with 14.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.7 APG and Morgan Paige with 12.7 PPG.
1. Unfamiliar Territory: The Phoenix has now lost three games in a row for the first time since the 2003-04 season, and three consecutive home game since the same season. Despite the losses Green Bay has seen this start before with a great turnaround: during the ‘03-04 season the team went on to win the Horizon League championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
2. A Long December: The Phoenix will look to avoid a winless December when it takes on Wisconsin on December 30. Green Bay is currently 0-3 this month with losses to South Dakota State, Wichita State and No. 18/21 Purdue. It is more unfamiliar territory for the Phoenix not having a win this month, as they have only gone winless in December one other season (1976-77).
3. Going Streaking: With a loss to Purdue on December 18, the Phoenix saw a streak of eight consecutive wins against Big Ten opponents come to an end. Green Bay will have a chance to restart the streak, though, when they face Wisconsin on Monday. The Phoenix has defeated the Badgers in each of their last four meetings, including a 53-38 triumph last season at the Kress.
4. Close, but not Enough: Out of the Phoenix’s four losses this year, all but one have come by slim margins of fewer than six points. Additionally, in the three most recent defeats at home, Green Bay owned a least an eight-point lead at some point in the first half before going on to be outscored by a combined total of 102-80 in the second half.
5. Turnover Totals: Forcing turnovers while taking care of the ball has been a staple of the strong defensive play for the Phoenix under head coach Kevin Borseth. Green Bay currently averages 14.2 turnovers per game while forcing its competition into 20.4 turnovers per game, a differential of +6.2. The +6.2 differential currently ranks second in the conference and 19th in the nation.
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