Green Bay women fall to Minnesota in WNIT
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball team couldn’t hold a fourth-quarter lead and fell to the University of Minnesota 73-65 in a first-round Women’s National Invitation Tournament game March 17 at the Kress Events Center.
“We had some good looks,” Green Bay Head Coach Kevin Borseth said. “We had two bad possessions, and we couldn’t connect on shots.”
Sydney Levy led the Phoenix with 20 points, while Maddy Schreiber and Hailey Oskey chipped in 13 points apiece.
Green Bay (19-8, 14-4 Horizon) shot 37.3% from the field and committed 15 turnovers.
The Gophers were led by standout guard Sara Scalia, who finished with a game-high 33 points.
In addition, teammate Kadiatou Sissoko had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
In the final quarter, Minnesota (15-17, 7-11 Big Ten) hit 8-of-16 shots from the floor.
The Gophers had 18 second-chance points for the game.
Green Bay took a 52-46 lead into the final quarter after shooting a blistering 54% from the field during the third quarter.
Unfortunately, the hot shooting didn’t continue, as Scalia got hot in the final stanza for Minnesota.
The Gophers took the lead, 58-57, after Scalia hit a baseline jumper.
With about three minutes remaining, the Phoenix went back up, 62-61, after Hailey Oskey scored on a nifty up-and-under move.
However, it was the final lead Green Bay enjoyed.
Minnesota scored the next nine points to go up 70-62 and closed out the road victory seconds later.
The Gophers advanced to take on South Dakota State in a second-round matchup.
“They were fun to coach,” Borseth said about his team. “They worked hard and played together the whole year. Keep in mind, we had lots of true freshmen playing in Division 1 games. Our offseason will be important. I like the direction the program is headed.”
Early on, Minnesota grabbed a 9-5 lead, but senior point guard Meghan Pingel started the push for Green Bay, which scored 10 of the next 12 points.
A little later, Pingel dished out a few assists to catapult the Phoenix to an 18-16 lead after the first quarter.
“She’s probably the most fun person to be around,” Borseth said about Pingel. “She has a heart the size of a lion. In addition to scoring, she’s one of the greatest defensive players I’ve ever coached.”
The second quarter proved to be an up-and-down affair for the Phoenix, as Minnesota scored 14 straight over six minutes to go in front 30-23 with about three minutes remaining until halftime.
Green Bay closed the quarter on a flurry, as Levy hit a pair of triples and a layup to give Green Bay a 34-32 lead at the break.
The good vibes continued for Green Bay coming out of the locker room, as Schreiber hit a long-range triple, Oskey a runner in the lane and Pingel a bucket in transition to give the Phoenix their biggest lead of the night, 41-32.
Gophers Head Coach Lindsay Whalen had seen enough and called a timeout to try and regroup her team.