Thursday night began with only Green Bay knowing its seed in the upcoming Horizon League women’s basketball tournament, but that changed quickly as the night progressed and games went final. The top-six seeds are now set for the conference championship that begins Monday, March 5.
The Phoenix are the No. 1 seed and Detroit, courtesy of Valparaiso knocking off Wright State Thursday night, has clinched the No. 2 seed. Wright State is the No. 3 seed, while UIC’s victory over Milwaukee gave the Flames the No. 4 seed. Butler will be the No. 5 seed and Loyola the sixth seed.
Cleveland State, Milwaukee, Valparaiso and Youngstown State’s seeds are still to be determined. The women’s basketball tournament format calls for the No. 7-10 seeds to play in the first round with the seventh and eighth seed hosting a first round game. All four teams still have a possibility to host a first round game.
Detroit 57, Butler 52
Junior Yar Shayok scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half and the Titans held off a late charge by Butler as Detroit went into Hinkle Fieldhouse and pulled out a win for the second-straight season, 57-52, on Thursday night.
The win moved Detroit to 17-12 on the year and 13-4 in the Horizon League and with Wright State losing at Valparaiso, UDM has clinched the #2 seed in the upcoming Horizon League Championship. The victory also marks the second time in head coach Autumn Rademacher’s four years that the Titans have reached 17 wins.
The loss drops Butler to 12-16, 8-9 in the HL and gives the Titans their first regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs since the 2003-04 campaign.
Freshman Shareta Brown led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds. Shayok posted 14 points and seven boards, while sophomore Senee Shearer added 16 points.
UDM was down by one, 26-25, early in the second stanza when the red, white and blue took the lead for good on a free throw from senior Jalesa Jones and a 3-pointer from Shearer. Butler hit a basket to make it a two-point game on its next possession, but back-to-back buckets by Brown ran the Titan lead to five and they extended their advantage to as many as eight, 43-35, midway through the period.
The Bulldogs would not go away though scoring six straight to get within two, 43-41, with 8:28 left, but Shearer's third trifecta of the game gave the Titans a two-possession lead. The Titans fended off the Bulldogs the rest of the way as Butler could not get any closer than four until a give-me layup with five seconds remaining made the score 55-52. Butler fouled on the inbounds pass and Shearer calmly stepped to the line and hit a pair of free throws to prevent any miracle BU shot to tie the game.
Senior Lauren Allen tied her season high for the fourth time with five assists, while collecting seven rebounds and coming away with three steals. Jones finished with four points, four assists and three boards.
The Titans held the Bulldogs to just 29.3% shooting, including a 3-of-18 effort from three-point territory. Detroit ended the night hitting 45.7% from the field, including 55% in the second half sinking 11 of its 20 shots.
Detroit came out a bit sluggish on the offensive front with three turnovers in the first three minutes of play, but the defense came to play holding Butler to just 2-of-18 shooting with four turnovers. In fact, the Bulldogs missed 10-straight shots and went over eight minutes without scoring as the Titans took a 13-4 lead at the 7:51 mark in the first.
UDM was a little better from the field hitting five of its first 14 shots, with Brown and Shayok doing the damage down low combining for 10 points and six boards in that span.
Butler came alive offensively with a 12-2 run to jump out in front, 16-15, and again at 18-17, before a trey by Shearer gave the Titans a 20-18 lead with 3:17 left in the first. The lead would change hands twice more in the final three minutes as Butler scored five straight to take a 23-20 advantage and the Titans answered with five of their own to go into the break up by two, 25-23.
Detroit will end the regular season on Saturday as the Titans head to Valparaiso. Butler finishes the regular season hosting Wright State.
Green Bay 85, Loyola 56
The No. 11/11Green Bay (26-1, 16-1 HL) women’s basketball team tipped off its final road trip of the regular season with an 85-56 win over Loyola (13-15, 7-9 HL) Thursday at the Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill. Four players scored in double figures for the regular season Horizon League champs with senior Julie Wojta leading the way with a game-high 24 points.
Loyola took a one-point lead, with a three from Monica Albano before Wojta answered with a three to take a two-point advantage (9-7) at the 16:51 mark. Neither team led by more than three points until Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.) sank a fastbreak layup to give the Phoenix the 16-11 advantage with 14:22 to play in the first half.
With 12:36 to play in the first half, Albano sank her second three of the half to cut the Phoenix lead to four (18-14).
Green Bay went on an 11-3 run, culminating with a three from Stephanie Sension in the right corner, boosting the Phoenix lead to 23-15 with 11:40 to play in the first half. The Ramblers sank consecutive three pointers to make it a two-point game (23-21) at the 10:20 mark.
Six consecutive points and an assist from Wojta widened the gap with the Ramblers, making it 29-21 with 8:35 to play in the first half. Wojta’s points were part of an 11-0 run by the Phoenix as it held Loyola scoreless for over four minutes before Albano hit a jumper, making it 34-23 with 5:46 remaining in the opening half.
With 1:09 to play, Green Bay’s Buzz defense forced a Loyola shot clock violation, and allowed the Ramblers just six points in the final 9:40 of the half.
Green Bay led 39-27 at the break, shooting 42 percent (12-for-28) from the field and 83 percent (10-for-12) from the free throw line with Wojta leading all players with 11 points and six rebounds. Albano led the Ramblers with 10 points, two from three-point range, in the first half of play.
The Phoenix opened the second half with a fast start on a 9-2 run which included four points from Wojta and a three pointer from Megan Lukan from the right wing, boosting Green Bay’s lead to 46-27 at the 18:24 mark.
Senior Hannah Quilling opened a 13-0 run for the Phoenix with a bucket down low at the 10:26 mark. In a span of 45 seconds throughout the run, Wojta had a steal in Green Bay’s Buzz defense, before dishing out an assist on the opposite end to Lydia Bauer for a 65-43 cushion. Wojta later converted a Loyola turnover to her second three of the game after Ritchie found her on the right wing.
The Phoenix built its lead to as many as 30 (79-49) with a layup from Sension with 3:56 to play. The junior forward finished the game with 14 points in 16 minutes of play.
Green Bay’s defense forced Loyola to turn the ball over 18 times in the second half and a total of 28 times throughout the game while scoring 31 points off the Ramblers miscues.
In addition to Wojta’s game-high 24 points and Sension’s 14, Bauer and Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) added 10 points each. For the second consecutive game, Green Bay shot over 60 percent in the second half going 19-of-31 from the field. The Phoenix finished the contest shooting 52 percent (31-59) from the field and 70 percent (14-20) from the free throw line.
Green Bay plays its final regular season game Saturday at UIC, while Loyola remains at home and plays Milwaukee in its final regular season matchup.
UIC 59, Milwaukee 52
Sophomore Emily Kobel hit the two biggest shots of her young career in Thursday night’s, 59-52, victory over Milwaukee inside the UIC Pavilion. With 2:38 left to play and the Flames down by five, Kobel drained back-to-back treys in a 38-second span, giving UIC the, 53-52, go-ahead lead. The Flames sank crucial foul shots down the stretch to pull out the win and in doing so clinched the four seed in the Horizon League Tournament.
Earning the four seed was vital because it means that UIC will host the five seed in the quarterfinal round next Wednesday night. Butler secured the fifth spot on Thursday evening as they lost to Detroit by a final score of 57-52.
With the win, UIC improves to 17-11 overall and 10-7 in the conference. Seventeen victories place Miller in a tie for the program record for most wins by a first-year head coach. The original mark was set by Lisa Ryckbosch back in 2002-03.
Senior Shamiea Green guided the Flames tonight with 15 points and seven assists, while senior Kiara Strickland chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds. UWM’s Ashley green tallied a game-high 18 points on 8-of-14 field goal shooting.
At the start of the contest, UIC relied on its “big three” as seniors Jasmine Bailey, Green and Strickland scored the Flames’ first 11 points. After two three pointers by Kobel and Junior Taylor Foulks, the momentum seemed to favor UIC as they led, 21-14, with 9:12 remaining in the first half.
The Panthers clawed their way back into game and knotted the score at 23-23, eventually taking their first lead of the night, 26-25, on a trey by UWM sophomore Sami Tucker.
The Flames were without the services of their leading scorer Bailey for the final 11:23 of the first half as she picked up three early fouls.
After starting the game 7-of-10 from the field, UIC ended the first half shooting 4-of-14, experiencing a three-and-a-half minute scoring drought before heading into the locker room.
Milwaukee held the first half advantage, 28-26, and UWM’s Green piloted all scorers with 10 points. UIC’s Green paced the Flames with seven points, while Foulks and Strickland each had six.
The beginning of the second half witnessed a back-and-forth affair as Milwaukee still held a two-point advantage with 15:20 on the clock. The Panthers increased their lead to six over the next two minutes and eventually owned a 48-39 edge over the Flames with just 6:46 left to play.
Over the next two minutes, UIC rallied and came within three points of Milwaukee on two separate occasions. The run didn’t come without a cost as Bailey picked up her fifth foul at the 5:11 mark and UWM widened its lead to 52-47 with 2:48 on the clock.
That’s when Kobel went to work and the Flames held strong in the final minutes to secure the win.
UIC’s next game will be its final regular season contest on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT against league-leading No. 11/11 Green Bay. The four seniors on UIC’s team will be honored before the contest.
Valparaiso 70, Wright State 60
Tabitha Gerardot and Ashley Varner combined for 46 points and 22 rebounds on Thursday evening as Valparaiso posted a 70-60 victory over Wright State at the Athletics-Recreation Center to remain in the hunt for a home opening round game in the Horizon League Tournament.
Gerardot finished with a game-high 25 points and pulled down eight boards in 39 minutes of action while Varner added 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, one off of her career high.
After Wright State scored the game’s opening basket, the Crusaders scored the game’s next 15 points, capped with a Gina Lange triple at the 11:43 mark. The Raiders opened the game 1-of-18 from the floor.
The Raiders answered, closing within two, 17-15, before Valpo pushed the lead back to seven. Wright State tied the game at 22 on a three-point play by Kim Demmings, before Varner hit a bucket and Gerardot scored four straight points, including a basket at the horn as the Crusaders took a 28-22 lead into the locker room.
Out of the locker room, Wright State closed to within one as Demmings scored six of the Raiders’ first 10 points to make it a 33-32 game. The Raiders took their only lead of the second half, 39-38, on a three-pointer by Courtney Boyd at the 13:06 mark.
Valpo immediately answered, retaking the lead. With the game tied at 44, Ashley Timmermantook an inbounds pass and scored underneath and was fouled, giving the Crusaders the lead for good.
Timmerman’s basket started a 15-2 Valpo spurt, which was capped by a triple from Laura Richards as the shot clock wound down, giving the Crusaders a 59-46 lead at the 5:43 mark.
The Raiders cut the lead to six down the stretch but Valpo made seven-of-eight free throws to secure the victory.
Valpo finished the game shooting 40% from the floor. In addition to Varner grabbing 14 rebounds, Timmerman pulled down a career-high 10 caroms.
Demmings led Wright State (19-10, 12-5 Horizon) with 24 points while Molly Fox added 17 points and 11 boards. Shaunda Sandifer also added 11 rebounds as the Raiders were held to 29.6% shooting for the game. Wright State was just 5-of-26 (19.2%) from three-point range.
Valparaiso (9-19, 5-12) will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon hosting Detroit on Senior Day. Wright State finishes regular season play Saturday at Butler.
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