MT. PLEASANT, MI (GreenBayPhoenix.com)- The Green Bay women's basketball team started off the 2019-20 campaign with one of its best offensive performances in program history, defeating Central Michigan in double overtime 111-105.
The Phoenix nearly bested a program record which has stood for nearly 30 years, almost surpassing the team's highest single-game total of 112 set against Cleveland State in 1992. The game did end with the highest combined total in program history, as the Chippewas were only the second program of all time to score 100 points on the Phoenix defense.
Basketball is often described as a game of runs, and that description held true on Wednesday night in McGuirk Arena as GB and CMU exchanged runs with every passing minute. After Central Michigan opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run, the Phoenix found itself trailing by 15 and head coach Kevin Borseth elected to take a time out.
Green Bay seemed to make the necessary adjustment following the break and rattled off a 7-0 run of its own, eventually going on to outscore the hosts 22-13 in the third. Frankie Wurtz put an exclamation point on the quarter with a buzzer beater from half court which put the Phoenix on top by one.
With less than a minute remaining in the fourth, Green Bay found itself down 88-84. Karly Murphy managed to draw a foul and earned a trip to the line, sinking both free throws to make it a one-possession game. Murphy was again called upon with 17 seconds left and trailing by two, as the redshirt sophomore made a nice move down low after a dish from Meghan Pingel to tie the game and eventually force overtime.
GB found itself in familiar territory with 50 seconds left in the first overtime when CMU's Kyra Bussell sank a free throw to increase the Chippewas' lead to 99-95. Wurtz hit from long range as the clock ticked below 40 seconds to make it a one-point game, advantage Central Michigan at 99-98.
Central Michigan missed a pair of free throws late in the first overtime, leaving the door open for Green Bay after a rebound from Meghan Pingel and a timeout with 14 seconds left. The ball seemed to be tipped away by CMU on the inbound, but Pingel managed to corral it and push the ball back up the floor. Lyndsey Robson was eventually able to find Anna Dier under the basket, where Dier was able to sink a layup and tie the score, 100-100, with only 0.6 seconds left on the clock.
The two squads headed to a second overtime after Central Michigan's inbound was stolen by the Phoenix. CMU hit two free throws to get things started, which were negated shortly after by another layup from Dier. Green Bay never surrendered the lead after Murphy hit a jumper to take a 104-102 edge, as the Phoenix went on to win its season opener for the 12th time in 13 years, 111-105.
Murphy had a career night for Green Bay, leading the team with 30 points and nine rebounds in 45 minutes. Wurtz chipped in 18 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Robson (13), Caitlyn Hibner (13), Pingel (12) and Dier (10) all scored in double figures for the Phoenix.
GB returns home on Saturday for what is sure to be another highly competitive matchup, as the team welcomes South Dakota to the Kress Center for a 1 p.m. tip.