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Big first-half run carries Green Bay to fifth consecutive win

By Murray Gleffe

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball team used a 25-0 first-half run to defeat Robert Morris University 57-41 in a Horizon League game Feb. 5 at the Kress Events Center.

The game was part of Prevea Health Pink Zone night.

It was the fifth straight win for the Phoenix, who jumped into the top four of the conference standings.

“Based on how the second half went, thank God we jumped out to the big lead,” Green Bay Head Coach Kevin Borseth said. “It was a physical game. There were lots of bodies moving around. (Robert Morris) makes you use lots of energy. Our defense was outstanding to start the game by holding them to eight first-half points. We’re lucky to be where we’re at in the season. There are good teams in this league.”

Hailey Oskey was the only Phoenix player in double figures, finishing with 10 points.

Callie Genke and Julia Hartwig were a spark off the bench with 9 and 6 points, respectively.

Green Bay shot 39.7% from the floor and had an uncharacteristic 21 turnovers.

Robert Morris (8-12 overall, 6-9 Horizon) was a dreadful 14-of-56 from the field (25%) and was outrebounded, 44-33.

Nina Augustin opened the game with a triple for the Colonials, and then Green Bay (11-5, 7-3) didn’t let Robert Morris score for the next 14 minutes, which spanned the first and second quarter.

Offensively, the Phoenix found their groove early.

Bailey Butler connected on a nifty layup to give Green Bay a 15-3 lead.

Later, Sydney Levy hit a long-range bomb to put the Phoenix up 21-3 after one quarter.

Hartwig opened the second quarter with an offensive rebound and putback to give Green Bay a 22-point lead, 25-3, with less than seven minutes remaining until halftime.

The 25-0 run was sparked by offensive rebounding, scrappiness on the floor and timely shot-making.

“(Julia Hartwig) comes in off the bench and is a smart player,” Borseth said. “We didn’t get to use her on the blocks as much as we would have liked. Her rebounding was good, though.”

Green Bay took a convincing 32-8 lead into intermission.

As well as the Phoenix played in the first half, the second half was a complete role reversal for much of the final 20 minutes.

Despite Green Bay grabbing its biggest lead of the game, 36-8, Robert Morris slowly fought back.

Mackenzie Amalia, Ashya Klopfenstein and Augustin were the catalysts behind a 24-9 flurry to bring the Colonials to within 45-32 with 6:26 left.

Fortunately, for the Phoenix, they had enough left in the tank to fend off Robert Morris.

After an exchange of baskets, Genke connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to bump the lead to 53-34 with about four minutes remaining.

“We had a lull, and (Genke) came down and hit those two 3-pointers for us,” Borseth said. “We built our lead back up, so it was good.”

Down the stretch, Green Bay ran the shot clock down on multiple possessions to come away with the double-digit win.

“In the big scheme of things, you have to have around 25 games played to be eligible for the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) tournament,” Borseth said. “If we complete our schedule out, we’ll be at that mark. If we fall under, we’ll need a waiver from the committee. Our players want to play games. I’m living for the next one.”

The Phoenix host UW-Milwaukee Monday, Feb. 7.

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