Green Bay Uses Strong Second Half to Move Past Northern Kentucky
By Seth J. Walker
Detroit- The top seeded Green Bay Phoenix, played the part of the favorites, beating the eighth seeded Northern Kentucky Norse, 62-49, Saturday afternoon in the Horizon League quarterfinals. However, it wasn’t exactly an easy ride, as the Phoenix found their selves down 27-24 at halftime, and that was after junior guard Jen Wellnitz hit a jumper to cut the deficit to three.
In the second half, the Phoenix established control, holding the Norse to 10 third quarter and 12 fourth quarter points while scoring 21 and 17 in those quarters respectively.
“That was a close game, obviously,” Phoenix head coach Kevin Borseth said. “I thought Northern Kentucky played extremely well. I we played obviously better in the second half, but it’s one under our belt.
The Phoenix limited the Norse to 33 percent shooting for the game, while scoring when they needed to. Senior guard Allie LeClaire, an All-Horizon League Second Team selection, led all scorers with 21 points. Senior forward Jessica Lindstrom, an All-Horizon League First Team selection, added 14 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.
Phoenix don’t seem to have missed a beat since losing last year’s Horizon League Player of the Year Meryn Kraker, as the Phoenix have a tradition of being able to plug in any player to replace anyone that’s leaving.
“I think that every time we talk about our team getting better and better until I think, we just worked hard this summer and we knew we had to replace Meryn and she was a big asset to our team last year,” LeClaire said. “So I think that every single one of us put more time in the gym and we knew it was going to be a dog fight all year.”
Kraker was drafted in the third round of the WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics before ultimately signing a professional contract to play in Spain.
“We thought it was super cool,” Lindstrom said. “We’ve never been part of a team where someone went to the WNBA. So, it was something that was new to us.”
Sophomore guard Molly Glick led the Norse with 16 points, while freshman forward Grayson Rose added 10 rebounds. The Norse took pride in giving the Phoenix a battle after beating them once in the regular season, especially being a young team, with only one senior leaving, and a head coach completing her second season on the job.
“We got no juniors, five sophomores, and seven freshmen, and three freshmen coming in, so there’s a lot for us to look forward to,” Norse head coach Camryn Whitaker said.
The Phoenix advance to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament and like IUPUI, now have Sunday off. They will await the winner of Sunday’s quarterfinal game against fourth seeded Milwaukee and fifth seeded Youngstown State.