Oskey debuts; Phoenix lose fourth in a row
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – It was finally time to burn Hailey Oskey’s redshirt.
With all the injuries surrounding the Green Bay Phoenix women’s basketball team, the Seymour Thunder graduate made her 2019-20 debut at guard, playing 34 minutes and scoring seven points.
“After last week, we needed to get Hailey back and ready to play,” said Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth. “She got her feet wet tonight. It changes us a lot going into the conference season. She’s healthy, or we wouldn’t have put her on the court.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as South Dakota State University (SDSU) used a huge second-half run to defeat the Phoenix in a non-conference game at the Kress Events Center Dec. 21, 60-55.
Frankie Wurtz led Green Bay with 18 points, and Caitlyn Hibner added 10.
The Jackrabbits were paced by Tagyn Larson and Tori Nelson, who each had 19 points.
The Phoenix had 16 offensive rebounds and forced 20 turnovers in the game.
Hibner got Green Bay going with a triple after making a great defensive play on Jackrabbits guard Cascio Jensen Rylie on the opening possession.
Oskey got into the action a few minutes later, drilling a three-pointer from 24 feet out to the adoration of the Phoenix faithful.
Green Bay (5-7 overall) took an 11-6 lead after the first quarter, grabbing five offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive.
Oskey opened up the second quarter with her second trey of the game to give Green Bay its biggest lead of the game at 14-6 with 9:39 left until halftime.
SDSU (8-6 overall) then went on a 9-0 spurt behind the play of Nelson and Larson, who connected on four field goals to give the Jackrabbits a 15-14 lead.
Down the stretch of the first half, the Phoenix rebuilt their momentum.
Wurtz, a 5-foot-8 point guard and Green Bay’s leading scorer for the season, hadn’t scored in the first 16 minutes of the game, but scored seven of her team’s final eight points to give the Phoenix a 24-21 halftime lead.
Green Bay shot only 26 percent in the first half.
The Phoenix extended their lead to 31-24 to start the third quarter after Madison Wolf connected on two free throws.
Like it has in previous games, Green Bay then went cold from the floor for the next seven minutes.
During the span, the Jackrabbits went on a 23-4 run to take a 47-35 lead with 9:04 remaining.
The Phoenix responded with an 11-0 surge of their own to claw back to within a point (47-46) with 6:40 left.
“I was proud of the way the kids fought back and got back into the game,” Borseth said. “During their run, we didn’t make many shots.”
Down the stretch, it was SDSU which made the shots.
Green Bay cut the margin to a point (56-55) after Karly Murphy hit a tough runner high off the glass.
After two made free throws by the Jackrabbits, the Phoenix had one last opportunity to send the game into overtime.
Green Bay was fouled with five seconds to play, but Lyndsey Robson missed two free throws to dash the hopes of the home team.
Editor’s notes: Algoma native Anna Dier is likely lost for the season with an apparent ACL knee injury. Meghan Pingel is listed as day-to-day. Green Bay will host Northern Kentucky Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. to open Horizon League play.
South Dakota St: 6, 15,21, 18—60
Green Bay: 11, 13, 11, 20—55
Jackrabbits: Larson 19, Nelson 19, Cascio Jensen 11, Theisen 5, Theuninck 3, Stapleton 3.
Phoenix: Wurtz 18, Hibner 10, Murphy 8, Oskey 7, Mackenzie Wolf 5, Madison Wolf 5, Brecht 2.