Green Bay women's basketball rallies over Duquense

- PITTSBURGH, Pa. ( – Trailing by nine points with under eight minutes remaining, the Green Bay women’s basketball team battled back to outscore host Duquesne 23-6 down the stretch to rally for a 68-60 win in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

Down by as many as nine points (54-45) with 7:42 remaining in the contest, the Phoenix used a big 11-0 run over 4:20 to grab back the lead, 56-54, with 3:42 remaining. Starting with a pair of free throws from senior Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.), the run ended with two layups also by Ranger to give the Phoenix its first lead since the 15:54 mark of the second half. A Megan Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) layup added to the lead, 58-54, and Green Bay limited the Dukes to just one field goal while shooting 10-for-14 from the line to secure the 68-60 non-conference win.

Recouping from a first half free throw shooting percentage of 33.3 percent (4-12) the Phoenix were 75 percent (18-24) shooters in the second half, including a 6-for-8 showing from sophomore Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ontario) and a perfect 4-for-4 performance by senior Sam Zastrow (Algoma, Wis.) over the final 1:18 to keep the Phoenix in the lead.  

“We were down by nine with seven minutes remaining and I told the kids, a lot can happen in seven minutes,” head coach Kevin Borseth said. “We turned up the intensity defensively, got some big steals and made key free throws down the stretch, and that was key for us in the win.”

In the first half, the Dukes led by as many as 10 points (18-8) midway through, but the Phoenix chipped away at the lead. A 20-10 scoring advantage over10:22 eventually tied the game at 28 with 1:23 remaining in the first half. Freshman Tesha Buck (Red Wing, Minn.) started the run with a three, and after Megan Lukan was fouled and made the front end of a pair of free throw, sophomore Ellen Edison (Maple Grove, Minn.) connected on a three and was fouled on the shot for the four-point play to get the Phoenix back to within four points, 20-16, with 8:04 on the clock.

Duquesne built its advantage back to six points, 27-21, with 3:12 remaining before the Phoenix capitalized on a 7-1 scoring run highlighted by a layup and-one from Edison, a Buck layup and finally a Mariah Monke (Fergus Falls, Minn.) layup to knot the game at 28. However, the Dukes went 3-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch, while the Phoenix went 1-for-2 to give the home team a 31-29 lead at the break.

Green Bay went into halftime shooting 43.5 percent (10-23) from the field and 38.5 percent (5-13) from three compared to 36.4 percent (8-22) from the field and 22.2 percent (2-9) from deep for the Dukes. The difference in the half came at the free throw line where Duquesne shot 76.5 percent (13-17) compared to the Phoenix shooting just 33.3 percent (4-12).

The second half opened with a Monke layup to tie the game at 31-31, and the Phoenix offense kept clicking as it took the lead, 37-36, with 15:54 remaining on a Ranger layup. Despite taking the lead, the momentum swung in favor of Duquesne as the Dukes went on a 12-2 scoring run to jump out to a 48-39 advantage, forcing Green Bay to call a timeout with 10:01 remaining. Green Bay’s lone points during the run came on a pair of free throws by Ranger, and the Phoenix wouldn’t score another field goal until the 9:21 mark on a layup from Megan Lukan. The Dukes held the momentum before a resilient Green Bay squad came storming back, setting up the late game dramatics.

It was a career day for several Phoenix, as Ranger finished with her second double-double of the season, totaling 12 points and tying a career-high 11 rebounds. Kaili Lukan tied a career-best with 13 points, Edison finished with a career high 13 points and Buck set a career-high with seven assists in addition to tying her career-high in points (11) and rebounds (5).

As a team, the Phoenix finished the game shooting 46.5 percent (20-43) from the field with 16 assists. Green Bay also forced Duquesne into 22 turnovers compared to just 17 for itself, and also had an advantage in steals, 9-8.

Duquesne's Wumi Agunbiade had a game-high 15 points.

Green Bay returns to action next Friday in game one of the TD Bank Classic, hosted by the University of Vermont. The Phoenix will tip against Siena at 4 p.m.

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