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Phoenix rally from double-digit deficit; Hartwig, Hibner lead the way

By Murray Gleffe

GREEN BAY — Green Bay Phoenix women’s basketball player Julia Hartwig came into her team’s Jan. 29 game having played only 63 minutes the entire season.

Hartwig didn’t even play in the first half, as the Phoenix dug themselves a double-digit deficit.

When she entered in the third quarter, she scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot to help lead Green Bay to a come-from-behind, 60-55 Horizon League victory over IUPUI at the Kress Events Center.

“I asked the question at halftime, ‘Why not Julia?’” said Kevin Borseth, Green Bay head coach. “She can score, defend and rebound. “In my opinion, she was the key to the second-half turnaround.”

Caitlyn Hibner led the Phoenix with 22 points.

Green Bay (9-5 overall, 8-3 Horizon League) shot 48.1 percent from the field, which included a blistering 57.1 percent in the final quarter.

IUPUI was led by Rachel McLimore’s 17 points and three assists.

The Jaguars (8-4, 6-3) committed 21 turnovers, shot 7-of-23 from behind the arc but outrebounded the Phoenix, 33-27.

IUPUI jumped out to a 12-4 lead behind the hot shooting of McLimore and Katelyn O’Reilly.

The Phoenix hung around with Jasmine Kondrakiewicz’s play, but the rest of the team was ice-cold.

“We didn’t have anything which resembled good offense to start,” said Borseth. “I’m not sure exactly what happened.”

The Jaguars built their biggest lead, 30-17, with 2:07 left until halftime.

Up to that point, Green Bay was getting hammered on the glass and scored virtually no points via the lane.

The Phoenix finally showed some life after Hibner stole an errant IUPUI pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup.

Back-to-back turnovers by the Jaguars turned into a three-point make by Brooklyn Blackburn and an up-and-under layup by Cassie Schiltz, which cut the lead to 30-24 at intermission.

The quick seven points to end the half sparked Green Bay, as it carried the momentum into the second half with a 23-4 run to take a 40-34 lead with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Much of the damage came from Hartwig and Hibner scoring and rebounding in the lane.

IUPUI slowly chipped away and eventually tied the game, 42-42, at the start of the final quarter.

However, the inside game the Jaguars enjoyed in the first half suddenly went sour, as leading-scorer Macee Williams got into foul trouble.

The Phoenix took advantage by scoring 17 of the next 19 points to take a comfortable 59-44 lead with 4:01 remaining.

“We got Williams in foul trouble, but man, she’s tough,” Borseth said. “It seemed like every time she touched the ball, it went in the basket. It’s a focus for them and something we were concerned about going into the game.”

Down the stretch, despite turning the ball over, the victory was never in doubt for Green Bay.

“We’re trying to find our identity right now,” said Borseth. “We’re trying to do our own work every time we step onto the court. When I get out of the way, generally we play lots better.”

Green Bay will try to get the series sweep tomorrow, Jan. 30, with IUPUI in a 1 p.m. game at the Kress.

Box score:

IUPUI: 20, 10, 8, 17 — 55

Green Bay: 12, 12, 18, 18 — 60

Jaguars: McLimore 17, Williams 13, O’Reilly 10, Allen 4, Roule 3, Andersen 3, Berg 3, Jones 2.

Phoenix: Hibner 22, Schiltz 9, Blackburn 7, Kondrakiewicz 7, Hartwig 6, Pingel 4, Robson 3, Foster 2.

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