By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay women’s basketball team started the 2014 portion of its season on the right foot behind a 12 point, 13 assist and no turnover performance by junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) as the Phoenix cruised to a 72-49 triumph over Maine on Wednesday afternoon at the Kress Center.
Lukan posted a career-high 13 assists, tying the school record for helpers during the D-I era last achieved by Natalie Berglin against Cleveland State on January 26, 2006. She narrowly missed the all-time record of 15 set by Pam Roecker twice during the 1983 campaign. Adding 12 points, Lukan finished with a double-double in back-to-back games for the first time in her career.
It was a diverse scoring day for the Phoenix, with all 12 players taking to the court and 10 finishing with one or more points, including four double-digit scorers. Several Phoenix recorded career-best totals in the win, including senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) with 11 rebounds, senior Sam Zastrow (Algoma, Wis.) with six points, sophomore Ellen Edison (Maple Grove, Minn.) with four rebounds and freshman Sam Terry (Baraboo, Wis.) with three boards. Ranger also added 12 points for her third double-double of the season.
Maine took its first lead of the game at the 15:23 mark in the first half (7-8) but the Phoenix then went on a 6-0 run over the next 1:42 to jump out to a five point lead (13-8). Three different Phoenix scored during the run, including fast break buckets from junior Megan Lukan and sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) and a basket in the paint by Ranger. The lead increased to as many as eight points (20-12) with 9:49 remaining, but back-to-back three point shots by the Black Bears pulled the visitors back to within two (20-18) with 8:25 on the clock.
Keeping the game close late in the first half, Maine got to within a point (23-22) before Green Bay used an 11-0 run to assume its largest lead of the half (34-22) with just over one minute remaining. The Phoenix bench sparked the scoring streak, starting with a three by Edison. Zastrow connected on two jumpers, while sophomore Taylor Thomas (Wausau, Wis.) and Megan Lukan each added a layup. Maine registered a three pointer to end the streak, but the Phoenix went into intermission with a 34-25 lead.
Green Bay shot 53.8 percent (14-26) from the field in the first 20 minutes compared to 39.1 percent (9-23) for the Black Bears. The Phoenix received 24 of its 34 points in the opening stanza off 15 Maine turnovers and eight steals.
The same five players that ended the first half started the second stanza for the Phoenix, as Zastrow, Ranger, Thomas, Edison and Megan Lukan maintained an 11 point Phoenix advantage (41-30) just over three minutes in. Maine pulled back to within six points (44-38) with 11:54 remaining, but an 11-3 Phoenix run over the next 2:54 pushed Green Bay ahead by 14 points (55-41). With a comfortable lead, Green Bay gave its starters a well-deserved break while the reserves held the Black Bears to just two field goals in the final 5:31 seconds as it cruised to the 72-49 triumph.
Green Bay finished the game shooting 47.5 percent (28-59) from the field and 35.7 percent (5-14) from three, while the Black Bears went 37.7 percent (20-53) from the field and 20.8 percent (5-24) from deep. Maine led rebounding 38-33, but the Phoenix dominated the superlatives, including 44-16 in the paint, 41-7 points off turnovers, 18-10 assists, 13-25 turnovers and 11-5 steals. In addition to Ranger and Megan Lukan, Kaili Lukan (10) and Edison (10) both finished in double-figure scoring.
Maine was held without a double-digit scorer, receiving a team-high nine points from Liz Wood.
Green Bay will take the weekend off before opening conference action at home against UIC on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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