GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) — Green Bay welcomed Milwaukee to the Kress Center on Saturday afternoon for the 91st meeting between the two programs, and like many before it, the matchup ended in favor of the Phoenix, 61-48.
The Phoenix defense was stifling from tip-off in the rivalry matchup, surrendering just three points to the Panthers in the first five minutes while forcing four turnovers. Green Bay constructed a four-point lead at the end of the first, 12-8, and forced an impressive six MKE turnovers.
Meghan Pingel made her return to the court for the first time in eight games and made her presence known immediately, burying a trio of three-pointers in her first seven minutes. Green Bay carried a 27-19 advantage into the locker room at half, due in large part to the Panthers having more turnovers than made field goals, 12-7.
Green Bay’s lead was double digits, 36-26, with just under five minutes remaining in the third but a 9-2 Panthers run over the course of 90 seconds made it a one-possession game. The Phoenix managed to build its lead to a more comfortable margin at 43-35 after an and-one from Madison Wolf and two free throws from Mackenzie Wolf to cap the frame.
The Phoenix put the game away in the fourth quarter after a 10-0 run sparked by back-to-back buckets from Karly Murphy increased GB’s lead to 14 points. Oskey and Wurtz drilled back to back three-pointers with just over three minutes remaining to put things out of reach for the visitors, 57-43. Five points from the Panthers lowered their deficit to nine points, but it was once again Wurtz and Oskey who scored on back-to-back possession to seal a 61-48 victory.
It is the third time this season the Phoenix defense has held its opponent to less than 50 points and already the second in league play. Green Bay forced 18 Milwaukee turnovers and capitalized with 15 points off turnovers. The Panthers finished with only 17 made field goals on 55 attempts, finishing 31% from the field. The Phoenix absolutely dominated the work inside, outscoring MKE 22-2 in the paint. GB improved to 72-19 in the all-time series against the Panthers.
Three scorers finished in double figures for the green and white, as Oskey led all scorers with a season-high 17 points followed by Wurtz and Pingel with 12 and 11, respectively.
Green Bay hits the road next weekend for its first away swing of Horizon League play, headed to Michigan for matchups with Oakland and Detroit Mercy.