The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball team has the best record in the Horizon League, and its play against Youngstown State University showed how good the Phoenix really are.
The Penguins lost to the Phoenix 73-27 Saturday night. With the loss, YSU falls to 19-8 and 8-6 in the Horizon League. Green Bay on the other hand improved to 24-4 and 14-1 in the conference. The Phoenix already clinched the number one seed in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament.
YSU went into halftime down 40-11. The Penguins couldn’t find an open shot in the first half. YSU shot 1-18 from behind the 3-point line. The Penguins shot 11.5 percent and turned the ball over nine times.
“We had 13 turnovers the first half the last time we played them,” YSU head coach John Barnes said. “I guess that was an improvement because we only had nine. We did everything we could to get them ready for it. They’re just really tough. We obviously didn’t have a good night shooting the basketball. A lot of that had to do with them.”
The second half wasn’t much better for the Penguins. YSU finished shooting 15 percent from the field and 8 percent from behind the 3-point line. The Penguins had 17 turnovers and allowed 19 points off turnovers.
“Green Bay is really good,” Barnes said. “Defensively they are one of the best teams that I’ve seen throughout my coaching career of 20 years. When you struggle shooting it that much, it’s hard to get anything going. Although we didn’t have a lot of open looks or easy looks. They’re not beating Purdue, Arizona State and Georgia Tech because they are they’re not unbelievably good. Give all the credit to them. We could have been mentally tougher. I felt like they punched us in the mouth right away and we were staggering throughout. As a coach that’s part of the process — you got learn from it and get better from it.”
The Penguins couldn’t stop the Phoenix offense — whether it was in the paint or behind the 3-point arch. The Phoenix scored 36 of their 73 points in the paint. Green Bay finished the game shooting 53.8 percent from the field.
Senior forward Latisha Walker led the Penguins in scoring with 11 points. Heidi Schlegel, potential Horizon League Player of the Year candidate, was held to six points and six rebounds. Barnes believes that the game wasn’t a negative reflection on his team, but proved how good Green Bay and senior guard Megan Lukan has been throughout the season.
“They’re just really good,” Barnes said. “Megan Lukan is the all-time leader in assists in Green Bay women’s basketball — which won 17 straight league championships. She’s that good, she’s that strong, she’s that great of a leader. They played like champions.”