No. 11 Green Bay earns OT win
Ritchie finishes with a game and career-high 26 points
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- No. 11 Green Bay (23-1, 13-1 HL) overcame a nine-point deficit with 59 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and capture a 77-72 win against Youngstown State (10-16, 4-11 HL) Saturday at the Beeghly Center.
Junior Adrian Ritchie scored eight points in the final 59 seconds of regulation, including a 3-pointer and three free throws following a foul on a 3-point attempt to force overtime. It was the second overtime game for the Phoenix this season, a game that also included Ritchie on the final play.
"We called the same play against Georgia Tech and they got mixed up on the screen and rushed out hard at me and hit my arm," Ritchie said of the final play. "It just comes down to playing hard together and if you have the ball you have to make the play in that situation."
|GREEN BAY VS. YOUNGSTOWN STATE|
Green Bay drew up the same play as it did in the final seconds against Georgia Tech Nov. 26 in the San Juan Shootout in which Ritchie sank a three from the same spot as she did against Youngstown State.
"Youngstown State switched on the screen but I think she got caught up while trying to come back to me whereas against Georgia Tech they just sagged off," Ritchie described the play. "It was a great screen by Julie and we had the right timing and good pass. There were so many things that have to happen for me to get open and everyone played a part in that play."
Neither team led by more than seven in the second half until the Penguins built their lead to nine following a 12-4 run that began with 3:14 to play in regulation.
"We didn't play the way we wanted to the whole game and I think the way we came back shows a lot about our character," said Ritchie who finished with a game and career-high 26 points. "We don't by any means think it's okay to just show up in the last minute just to get by but I think we have a will to win and we don't like losing and our competitive nature just goes into overdrive."
Senior Julie Wojta posted her third consecutive double double performance with 18 points and 15 rebounds while dishing out a game-high six assists. Lydia Bauer added 14 points while tying a career-high nine rebounds.
In the opening half, Youngstown State took a two-point lead at the 15:29 mark after Melissa Thompson sank a 3-pointer from the left corner for the 9-7 advantage. With a 12-11 Green Bay lead, Hannah Quilling drained a deep 3 from the left wing to boost the Phoenix lead to four (15-11).
Green Bay's largest lead of the half came off a jumper down low from Stephanie Sension to give the Phoenix the 17-12 advantage with 9:04 to play.
The Penguins would not go away as they continued to drive on the Phoenix and dial in from long distance, taking a one-point lead (20-19) with 7:13 to play in the first half off a three from Kenya Middlebrooks. Youngstown State's Brandi Brown later hit a layup down low for the 22-19 advantage before Bauer sank one of her two 3-pointers of the contest from the left wing to tie it 22-22 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
Middlebrooks sank consecutive 3-pointers to boost the Penguins lead to eight (30-22), part of an 8-0 run by the Penguins as they held the lead for the final six minutes of the half. Green Bay outscored Youngstown State 10-4 in the final 3:48 of the opening half to cut the Penguins lead to two (34-32) at the break.
Green Bay shot 52 percent (12-of-23) from the field in the first half and 40 percent (4-of-10) from 3-point range. The Penguins were 6-of-10 from beyond the arc while scoring 14 points off Green Bay's eight turnovers.
"We let them get going and didn't set the line of scrimmage right away," said head coach Matt Bollant. "Middlebrooks played great and we just didn't take things away defensively. We shot 52 percent in the first and were still down which is disappointing."
Youngstown State opened the half on a 7-2 run, building its lead to 41-34 at the 16:33 mark.
Wojta sparked a 13-1 run with a steal and bucket to make it 41-38 with 14:16 to play. Following a timeout by the Phoenix, Wojta then drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it a one-point game (42-41) before Sension gave Green Bay its first lead of the half with a bucket down low. Wojta scored nine of Green Bay's 13 points in the run before it came to a stop with a jumper from Brandi Brown.
With 7:24 to play, Brown drained one of her three 3-pointers from the right wing to give the Penguins the 49-47 advantage. Ritchie sank a 3 from the left wing with 5:04 to play to give the Phoenix the one-point, 50-49 lead before the Penguins answered with a 3-pointer from Melissa Thompson.
Freshman Megan Lukan gave the Phoenix its final lead in regulation (55-54) on a three-point play with 2:55 remaining before Brown sank a 3 from the right corner to take back the lead (57-55). Middlebrooks sank her fifth 3-pointer of the contest to boost the Penguins lead to five with less than two minutes to play.
The Phoenix was forced to foul and save time on the clock, resulting in four consecutive free throws by the Penguins to take the nine-point lead with 59 seconds to play in regulation.
"We were never going to give up, even with a minute left to play, we just looked each other in the eye and we knew we could do it," Ritchie said.
Green Bay outscored Youngstown State 11-6 in overtime play, including five points from Bauer which gave the Phoenix the eight-point lead (75-67) with 37 seconds to play.
Youngstown State had four players score in double figures including Middlebrooks who led the way with 22 while Brown poured in 21 and grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds.
Green Bay finished the contest shooting 41 percent while going 26-of-62 from the field and 81 percent from the free throw line sinking 17-of-21 attempts from the charity stripe.