The dominant Horizon League women’s basketball team over the last 18 seasons showed why during the fourth quarter Thursday at BB&T Arena.
With the game tied at 52 at the end of three quarters, Green Bay pulled away in the fourth to defeat Northern Kentucky 81-73.
“I thought, in stretches, we played very, very good basketball,” NKU Head Coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. “That’s a team that has been holding Horizon League opponents to 42 points per game.”
The Norse (10-7, 2-4 in Horizon League) battled back late, but Green Bay made enough free throws down the stretch to hang on for the victory.
Green Bay opened the fourth quarter on an 11-3 run to take a 63-55 lead with 5:26 remaining.
NKU chipped away, getting the deficit down to four on a Courtney Roush layup with 41.5 seconds left.
The Norse got no closer. Allie LeClaire made six free throws in the final 39 seconds to put the game away.
NKU shot 40.7 percent from the floor, including 44.4 percent in the second half.
“We were able to find ways to score in bunches or stretches,” Plitzuweit said. “Unfortunately, in most of the second half, we couldn’t guard them.”
Green Bay shot 53.7 percent for the game and a blistering 68 percent in the second half.
“If we guarded them one-on-one, they’d score on us,” Plitzuweit said. “If we doubled them, they’d kick it out and shoot threes.
“Our kids played with a lot of heart. They played with a lot of composure. Green Bay is a great basketball team. I’m really proud of our kids for battling and clawing.”
Kasey Uetrecht led NKU with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Courtney Roush gave the Norse a great performance off the bench. She scored 16 points in 29 minutes.
“Both Kasey and Courtney offensively played very, very hard and very well,” Plitzuweit said. “They were the recipients of some other kids cutting very hard, then all of the sudden Kasey was left open for a shot or Courtney was.
“But they’re also kids that have the ability to create their own. For those two kids to play to that level speaks volumes of their effort and intensity and willingness to take tough shots and make tough shots.”
Five Green Bay players scored in double figures, led by LeClaire’s 19. Plitzuweit said they tried multiple things on defense to try to slow the high-powered Phoenix offense.
“I thought when we tried to mix up how we were guarding, they are a really good, disciplined team and made us pay,” Plitzuweit said. “If we took away their initial surge, their initial attack, they countered with something else.
“I don’t know if we’re at a stage yet where we could, against a team like that, take away their initial attack, then their counterattack, then whatever the counter to the counter was.”
The Phoenix (16-2, 6-0 in Horizon League) have won or shared every regular season Horizon League title since 1999.
NKU will return to action 7 p.m. Saturday against Milwaukee. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016
@ BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Green Bay 81, Northern Kentucky 73
G — 14 – 14 – 24 – 29 — 81N — 14 – 15 – 23 – 21 — 73
(81) GREEN BAY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Lukan 5-1-1-12, Kraker 5-2-1-13, Lindstrom 5-3-2-15, LeClaire 4-0-8-16, Weitzer 4-0-0-8, Buck 4-3-1-12, Terry 2-1-0-5. TOTALS 29-10-13-81.
(73) NORTHERN KENTUCKY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Lyttle 3-0-3-9, Gayheart 2-2-2-8, Ch. Roush 2-2-2-8, Kinch 1-0-0-2, Uetrecht 5-4-4-18, Davis 1-1-2-5, Co. Roush 6-2-2-16, Franson 2-0-3-7. TOTALS 22-11-18-73.
FIELD GOALS: G 29/54 (Lukan 5/8, Kraker 5/6, Lindstrom 5/9, LeClaire 4/10, Weitzer 4/4, Buck 4/9); N 22/54 (Co. Roush 6/10, Uetrecht 5/9, Lyttle 3/5)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: G 10/26 (Lindstrom 3/5, Kraker 2/3); N 11/33 (Uetrecht 4/6, Gayheart 2/5, Ch. Roush 2/9, Co. Roush 2/3)
FREE THROWS: G 13/23 (LeClaire 8/10); N 18/20 (Uetrecht 4/4, Lyttle 3/4, Franson 3/3)
REBOUNDS: G 27 (Lindstrom 10, LeClaire 6, Lukan 4); N 31 (Uetrecht 8, Co. Roush 5, Davis 4)
ASSISTS: G 18 (Lindstrom 5, Lukan 4); N 17 (Davis 5, Uetrecht 4)
STEALS: G 8 (Lukan 2, Lindstrom 2); N 1
BLOCKED SHOTS: G 1; N 0
TURNOVERS: G 8; N 12