Hibner’s 24 points pace Phoenix to victory in season-opener
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY — After losing the 2019-20 Horizon League championship to IUPUI March 10, the Green Bay women’s basketball team made its 2020-21 debut Nov. 28 at the Kress Events Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The Phoenix (1-0 overall) got 24 points and 12 rebounds from Caitlyn Hibner to defeat the Drake Bulldogs 69-61 in a nonconference game with no fans in attendance.
“Absolutely, I am happy with the win,” said Kevin Borseth, Green Bay head coach. “Drake is good. They’re well-coached and have great players. Basketball is a game of runs.”
Newcomer Jasmine Kondrakiewicz added 15 points in 20 minutes of action for the Phoenix.
Drake (0-1) was paced by Maddie Monahan’s 16 points and four assists.
Green Bay shot 51 percent from the floor and was 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs had 40 rebounds (17 offensive) to the Phoenix’s 31.
Both teams looked like they hadn’t entertained the hardwood in some time, as eight of the first nine field goal attempts clanked off the iron.
Hibner finally got the lid off the hoop with a rebound basket.
A bit later, sophomore Brooklyn Blackburn came off the bench to give the Phoenix a quick pair of baskets.
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the contest at 13-12 after Monica Burich connected on one of two free throws.
Near the end of the first stanza, Phoenix guard/forward Lyndsey Robson nailed a 24-foot triple from the right arc to give Green Bay a 17-15 lead after one.
Drake quickly took command of the second quarter, going on a 9-0 run (24-17 lead) after Green Bay went cold from the field.
However, the Phoenix battled back with two quick baskets by Hibner and tough interior defense.
Green Bay took three charges during a short span of possessions.
“We work at our defense,” said Borseth. “We spend lots of time in practice trying to guard and trying to help. When you hold a team who scored in the 80s a number of times last season to what we did today, that’s a good defensive effort.”
Meghan Pingel drained a three (after the Bulldogs defense sagged off her), and Green Bay regained the lead at 28-27, eventually taking a 34-31 cushion into halftime.
The Phoenix scored the first seven points (Kondrakiewicz and Cassie Schiltz) to start the second half to take a double-digit lead at 41-31.
“I’m sure when I go back on videotape, I’ll see lots more of what the newcomers contributed to this game,” said Borseth. “There were kids who went into the contest and literally put their nose to the grindstone and did what they did well. They weren’t intimidated by the game.”
After Patricia Gallasova stole a pass at midcourt and converted on the other end with a layup, the Phoenix took a 48-39 lead with 4:33 left in the third quarter.
This game was all about runs.
The Bulldogs responded with a 12-2 surge to grab a 51-50 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Green Bay then used its size and muscle to start the final 10 minutes.
Hibner scored the first five points of the last quarter, and Robson added a tough scoop-and-bank off glass to extend the lead to 59-52 with 6:47 remaining.
“I felt it was necessary to attack (Drake) in the paint,” said Borseth. “I thought we got a few baskets down low to loosen things up for us.”
Down the stretch, the Bulldogs got no closer than five points, as Green Bay converted its free throws to ice the game.
The Phoenix will travel to Fargo to play North Dakota State on back-to-back days, Dec. 5-6.
Drake: 15, 16, 20, 10 – 61
Green Bay: 17, 17, 16, 19 – 69
Bulldogs: Monahan 16, Collier 10, Berg 10, Burich 8, Wooldridge 8, Becker 5, Negaard 4.
Phoenix: Hibner 24, Kondrakiewicz 15, Robson 12, Pingel 8, Blackburn 4, Schiltz 2, Gallasova 2, Hartwig 2.