Murphy has big day, as Phoenix continue to roll
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY — With the Kress Events Center rocking on School Jam Day Feb. 27, the Green Bay women’s basketball team cruised to an 81-51 Horizon League victory over Cleveland State.
Karly Murphy led Green Bay in scoring with 29 points and seven rebounds, while Frankie Wurtz added 22 points and two assists in front of a season-high 3,594 fans.
The Phoenix have won five straight and 9 of their last 11 games.
The Vikings were paced by Mariah White’s 15 points.
Cleveland State’s third-leading scorer, Savanna Crockett, did not play in the game.
Green Bay (17-12 overall, 12-5 Horizon) shot 58 percent from the field, despite only hitting 4-of-17 shots from behind the arc.
The Phoenix had a 20-plus advantage on the boards, with Madison Wolf, Caitlyn Hibner and Murphy each corralling seven.
“They played only about five percent of zone today and 95 percent man-to-man, so it was different than what we are accustomed to,” said Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth. “Our big kids scored. One of their kids was missing, and we punched it inside where we had to.”
Green Bay raced out to an 11-5 lead after Wurtz made a baseline jumper amidst three Cleveland State defenders.
The Phoenix had an 18-11 cushion after the first quarter.
Murphy got into the action early and often in the second quarter, scoring two of the first three baskets with interior moves to push Green Bay’s lead to 25-14 with 6:27 left until halftime.
“Our ball moment was good,” said Murphy. “If you had patience, we had one-on-one matchups, and we seemed to finish almost every time. It was nice to have all those kids cheering us on. It makes a difference.”
Green Bay took a 32-21 lead into intermission.
They went on an 11-2 run to start the third quarter, with Wurtz dropping a triple from the top of the key to put the Phoenix up 20 points.
The Vikings (19-9, 9-8) trimmed the margin to 13 points after Jade Ely stole a pass and made the layup to end the third.
A clearly upset Borseth fell to his knees after the play.
The message Borseth relayed to his players between quarters was received, as Green Bay scored 19 of the first 25 points in the final quarter to put the game away.
Much of the damage was done by Murphy and Wurtz, who combined to go 21-of-28 from the field and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line.
“We take one at a time, “ Borseth said. “This is a good league we are playing in. We have to make sure we give Youngstown State their best. We had to find our niche when we were wounded. We didn’t have any degree of consistency of who was playing with who, but we got through it. It’s evident how much better we are now than three weeks ago, but we need to play with energy in this final regular-season game.”
Green Bay ends the regular season Saturday, Feb. 29, when they host Youngstown State (13-14, 6-10) at 2 p.m.
First-round play in the Horizon League Tournament begins Tuesday, March 3, at campus sites.
Cleveland State: 11, 10, 20, 10—51
Green Bay: 18, 14, 22, 27—81
Vikings: White 15, Braxton 12, Gradwell 12, Levy 6, Miller 3, Ely 2, Ly 1.
Phoenix: Murphy 29, Wurtz 22, Madison Wolf 12, Hibner 8, Robson 4, Mack Wolf 2, Brecht 2, Gallasova 2.