Green Bay Uses Strong Second Half to Beat Youngstown State in Semifinals
By Seth J. Walker
Detroit- The top seeded Green Bay Phoenix defeated the fifth seeded Youngstown State Penguins in the Horizon League semifinals, Monday afternoon, 66-45, to advance to the Horizon League Championship game.
The Phoenix trailed Penguins 28-26 at halftime, but managed to hold the Penguins to just 17 second half points, including just five in the third quarter. The Phoenix, according to head coach Kevin Borseth made a “blind adjustment” with “generic tight movement” for the second half.
“You know what, it was blind luck; it really was,” Borseth said. “I thought it got us into our rhythm.”
Senior forward Jessica Lindstrom had a near double-double for the Phoenix with 17 points and nine rebounds, both game highs. Senior guard Allie LeClaire added 16 points and five assists. The real difference maker for the Phoenix in this game, however, was junior guard Jen Wellnitz, with 14 points and three steals. Her two second-half steals helped give the Phoenix momentum in the second half, as her high motor enabled her to complete her own fast breaks off of her steals. Wellnitz is unique in that at only five-foot-eight, has the chance to take the opening tip-off against opposing post players, because she has such high hops.
“I can jump kind of high so I’m glad he let me do it,” Wellnitz said. “I mean, I think it’s cool, being 5-8. A lot of girls I jump against are 6-2,6-3.”
Junior forward Sarah Cash led the Penguins with 12 points; getting off to another strong start after her quarterfinal performance, before the Phoenix made adjustments.
The Penguins made for one of the more intriguing stories in the Horizon League, going 9-2 in their final 11 regular season games after a 2-5 start in conference play, and then beating Milwaukee in the quarterfinals before losing to the Phoenix here.
“As a team, we just got together and realized that what was happening wasn’t right and we needed to change it,” sophomore forward Mary Dunn said. “We just started working together very well and just never gave up. Even in this game, we were still working until the end. Together, we can do a lot of stuff and we realized that.”
The Phoenix advance to the Horizon League championship game and would await the winner of the semifinal game between IUPUI and Wright State. The championship game will be Tuesday at noon. The Penguins will wait and see if they’ll receive an invitation to a postseason tournament such as the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) or Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).