No. 22 Green Bay women win 4th straight HL tourney title
They say history repeats itself. That saying rings true once again for the 22nd-ranked Green Bay women's basketball team, which captured yet another Horizon League Tournament Championship on Tuesday afternoon with a convincing 62-44 victory over No. 2 seed Wright State at Little Caesars Arena. It's the 16th tournament title for the illustrious Phoenix program in the past 21 seasons, and its fourth-straight overall, punching its ticket to its 18th NCAA Tournament in the process.
The Phoenix (29-3) is now 16-4 all-time in the tournament's biggest game, and continued its dominance of Wright State as well, winning its 62nd game in the 66 all-time meetings.
Senior Allie LeClaire was named the Tournament MVP, pouring in a game-high 24 points against the Raiders (23-10). LeClaire was joined on the All-Tournament Team by fellow-senior Jessica Lindstrom and redshirt-junior standout Jen Wellnitz. LeClaire averaged 20.3 PPG in the three tournament games and also tied her career-high by grabbing eight rebounds.
GB dominated from the opening quarter, taking an 18-8 lead and an eventual 38-21 lead at halftime. The Phoenix, winning its seventh-straight game overall, held WSU to 15-for-54 (27.8 percent) shooting from the field and gave up just one made 3-pointer (1-for-13).
Lindstrom added to her program-record double-doubles total, finishing with 12 points and 14 rebounds. The Superior native now owns 41 double-doubles in her career and 18 in this season alone.
GB led for over 38 minutes in the game and was never really threatened in the second half. Wellnitz racked up four steals and eight assists, and was all over the court once again, verifying her Defensive Player of the Year recognition.
The 29 wins by the Phoenix are the most since the 2012-13 season and it's the sixth time in program history the team has reached that mark. It's the third time under the direction of Kevin Borseth that the team has won 29 games or more in a season.
Seniors LeClaire and Lindstrom will now have played in the NCAA Tournament every year of their Phoenix careers. "It feels really good. We are so blessed to be able to go to the NCAA Tournaments since our freshman year," said Lindstrom. "I think we got a taste of what that was like our freshman year, we were young at that point and we were like this is awesome. You want to re-live this as many times as you can, luckily we've done that." Added LeClaire, "It's super cool, especially just to go out with this team. We say every year it just gets sweeter and sweeter. We work so hard for this, and a lot of people don't see that and they think it might be easy, but it's so hard. Kudos to our team for putting in the work this summer and this year to get us to this moment."
Green Bay (29-3) will now await its seeding in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, with the bracket being announced on Selection Monday (Mar. 12) at 6 p.m. CT televised on ESPN.