GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – In a high-stakes battle between the top two teams in the Horizon League, the Green Bay women’s basketball team came through when it mattered most and captured the conference crown.

The Phoenix (24-4, 17-2 Horizon) rode a big second half to a 64-49 victory over Cleveland State, sweeping the season series with the Vikings (26-4, 16-3) and locking up the No. 1 seed in the Horizon League tournament.

Natalie McNeal scored 16 points off the bench for Green Bay, leading all scorers in the game. GB doubled up the Vikings in points in the paint, punishing their opponents again despite a size disadvantage at multiple positions.

Despite a consistent scoring output, it was once again defense leading the way for the Phoenix. Green Bay held CSU to a dismal 30 percent clip from the field, limiting the Vikings’ shot attempts and allowing only 13 free throws.

Perhaps the biggest feat for the Green Bay defense? Holding Horizon League-leading scorer Destiny Leo to just 10 points, well shy of her average mark.

With the victory, Green Bay has now won 21 of its last 22 games, a remarkable run in its own right, but especially impressive considering the tough luck the Phoenix have dealt with all year. Top contributors like Hailey Oskey and Maddy Schreiber (season-ending shoulder surgery) aren’t in the lineup, while Julia Hartwig remains sidelined and Brooklyn Blackburn has seen the floor just twice in the past month.

Through it all, GB’s short rotation continues to produce, with Bailey Butler emerging as one of the top two-way players in the Horizon League and role players like McNeal and Tatum Koenig able to go on a run at any given moment.

The Phoenix can lock up the outright conference crown Saturday with a win over Purdue-Fort Wayne in the regular season finale. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at the Kress Center.