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Green Bay’s ferocious comeback falls short

By Murray Gleffe

GREEN BAY — Trailing by 21 points with one quarter remaining, the Green Bay women’s basketball team scored 32 points in the final 10 minutes.

However, it wasn’t enough, as No. 6-seeded Cleveland State defeated No. 3 Green Bay 69-63 in a Horizon League quarterfinal game March 2 at the Kress Events Center.

“I failed those kids tonight,” said Kevin Borseth, Green Bay head coach. “I feel bad. I didn’t put us in a position to be successful offensively. The kids demonstrated their fight at the end and fought to the bitter end. You can’t ask any more of them.”

Caitlyn Hibner led Green Bay with 15 points, while Cassie Schiltz and Hailey Oskey had 12 and 11, respectively.

The Vikings (11-8) were paced by Mariah White, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

The Phoenix shot 42 percent from the field, but most of its success came in the final quarter where they hit 12-of-18 shots.

Green Bay (15-7) gave up 11 offensive rebounds and hit only 5-of-12 free throws.

The Phoenix took an early 11-10 lead after Oskey hit a jumper.

It was the last lead they would enjoy the rest of the first half.

Cleveland St. went on a subsequent 10-2 run to grab a 20-13 lead with 6:09 left in the second quarter.

Much of the damage during the spurt was done by White, who scored 13 first-half points.

With 0.4 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Barbara Zieniewska connected on a 26-footer and was fouled in the process.

She completed the four-point play, and Green Bay was trailing 33-22 at the break.

“They knew exactly what we were going to do,” said Borseth. “They made adjustments, and we had nothing to go to. Maybe it was different watching it or it will show up differently on video, but that’s how it appeared. We didn’t have a plan or backup plan to go to.”

Green Bay’s shooting woes continued into the third quarter where it scored only nine points in the quarter and fell behind 52-31 with 10 minutes remaining.

The Vikings’ 2-3 zone, with its length and height, caused the Phoenix into shot clock violations, hurry heaves and bad turnovers.

“Cleveland State is the only one who runs it,” Borseth said about the zone. “We’ve been successful with it in the past, but we never got anything high-low the entire game.”

Then, with the turn of a switch, the Phoenix found their way in the final quarter.

After Sydney Levy hit a 3-pointer from the left arc, Green Bay was trailing 57-51 with 3:27 left.

With less than 30 seconds showing on the clock, Oskey and Schiltz both connected on back-to-back triples to cut the margin to four, but it was a little too late for the Phoenix.

“Cleveland St. will be a pit in my stomach until we see them again next season,” Borseth said. “Next time around, we’ll have to have our kids more prepared.”

Box score:

Cleveland State: 13, 20, 19, 17 — 69

Green Bay: 11, 11, 9, 32 — 63

Vikings: White 22, Leo 16, Zieniewska 12, Gradwell 10, Dumas 4, Levy 3, Ly 2.

Phoenix: Hibner 15, Schiltz 12, Oskey 11, Levy 9, Robson 6, Pingel 5, Kondrakiewicz, 3, Blackburn 2.

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