By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Green Bay women’s basketball team kicks off a string of three games in five days as it travels to Michigan to take on Oakland on Thursday evening.
Fans can listen live to the game 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. The game will be available online for free through the Horizon League Network, and live stats will also be provided through OUGrizzlies.com.
Thursday’s game marks just the third time in program history Green Bay and Oakland will match up, and the first time as Horizon League foes. The Phoenix has won both of the previous meetings, including a 74-72 win in Rochester on Dec. 3, 2005 and a 90-68 triumph in Green Bay on Nov. 15, 2006.
Standing at 10-7 overall and 3-2 in the Horizon League, Green Bay most recently defeated Wright State in a thrilling 69-67 triumph at the Kress Center last Saturday. Senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) continued her strong play against the Raiders with a career-high 18 points, and now has 10+ points in her last three games against Wright State. Sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) had a team-high 23 points, finishing with her fourth 20+ point performance in five Horizon League contests.
Kaili continues to lead the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game, and is also averaging an impressive 20.2 points per game in conference action. Ranger has a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game, while junior Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) leads in assists (4.4) and freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) leads in steals (1.9).
Oakland comes into Thursday’s contest with an overall record of 8-11 and a 3-3 mark in the Horizon League. It has been and up and down season for the Golden Grizzlies, with the squad stringing together consecutive wins on just two occasions. Most recently Oakland split a pair of games in Ohio, defeating Cleveland State, 73-62, before falling at Youngstown State, 79-64. With four players averaging double-digit scoring, sophomore Elena Popkey leads the way with 13.1 PPG, while senior Kim Bee and Popkey are atop the rebounding stats, averaging 7.6 and 7.5 RPG, respectively. As a team, Oakland ranks last in the conference in field goal percentage, going 38.0 percent from the field despite having the top shooter in the conference. Senior Bethany Watterworth is shooting 52.5 percent (83-158) in 17 games.
1. Sister, Sister: The play of the Lukan sisters, Kaili and Megan, has been key to the Phoenix early in the Horizon League season. The duo has combined for 44.5 percent (154-346) of Green Bay’s offensive production thus far, shooting 52.3 percent (57-109) from the field and 76.1 percent (35-46) from the charity stripe, accounting for over half of Green Bay’s trips to the line. They have also dished out a combined 40 assists (40-79) and caused 15 steals (15-34) for the team.
2. Cool Hand Lukan: Sophomore Kaili Lukan has been making the most of her time on the court this season. Leading the team in scoring for the majority of the year, she has been the top Phoenix scorer in eight contests while posting double-digit efforts in 12 games, including six of the last seven. Against Wright State last Saturday she finished with 23 points for her fourth 20+ point performance in five Horizon League games, en route to being name the Horizon League Player of the Week. Lukan currently leads the team averaging 20.2 points in the four conference contests. The last Phoenix player to have three or more 20+ point performances during the Horizon League regular season was Julie Wojta who had seven in 2011-12.
3. Increased Productivity: Junior Megan Lukan has found her stride with the turn of the calendar to the conference season. Averaging 10.6 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds in five Horizon League games, Lukan is improving on her totals of 9.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 12 non-conference contests. Posting just six double-figure scoring games last season, Lukan has now accomplished that feat in 11 of Green Bay’s 17 games this season, including 10 or more points in eight of her last 11 games.
4. Out of the Gates: Green Bay has set the tone early in its games, outscoring the opposition by a combined 127 points (551-424) in the first half. Having been outscored by an opponent in the first half on just three occasions this season (at Duquesne, vs. Wichita State and at Youngstown State), the Phoenix is 1-2 in those contests.
5. Feed it in: Green Bay has been able to capitalize on offensive production in the paint this season, receiving 47.5 percent (540-1137) of its total points from the lane while outscoring its opponents in the category by a +236 point margin (540-304). Green Bay has received more paint points than its opposition in all but one game this season, a loss to South Dakota State (12/7). Senior Breannah Ranger leads all Phoenix with 142 points in the paint.
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