MILWAUKEE, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Paced by the incredible efforts from seniors Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.) and Lydia Bauer (Lake Zurich, Ill.) from long range, the No. 20/20 Green Bay women's basketball team finished Horizon League play with a perfect 16-0 record after an 80-56 win at Milwaukee. The win improves Green Bay's record to 26-2 overall, while the Panthers dropped to 9-19 and 5-11 in Horizon League play.
The win marks the fifth time in the Division I era the Phoenix finished undefeated in conference play and the second time under head coach Kevin Borseth. Green Bay went undefeated twice under Matt Bollant and in Borseth's final season of his first stint, 2006-07. The last time the Phoenix finished unblemished in league play was the 2010-11 campaign.
"To go undefeated in conference play is a nice feather in our caps and it puts us right where we want to be heading into next week, but we still have a lot of work to do," Borseth said. "Any time you go to your rivals' floor and come away with a big win, you know you're on the right track."
Ritchie scored the first nine points for Green Bay in the contest and opened the game with her first of five first-half triples. Her five scores from long range set a new career high for 3-point field goals made. Milwaukee responded with a three of its own, but Ritchie went downtown for the answer and the 6-3 lead. The Panthers hit a three on the other end, but again Ritchie replied for a 9-6 advantage.
Knotted at 9-9 after yet another Milwaukee three, Breannah Ranger scored down low to spark a 17-2 run. Redshirt senior Stephanie Sension (Hopkins, Minn.) capped off the run with a free throw before Milwaukee scored on a jumper after being held scoreless for nearly six minutes.
Bauer dueled it out in a back-and-forth battle from behind the arc with the Panthers after answering a Milwaukee triple to push the lead to 34-21. The Panthers replied from long range, but it was Bauer who connected on her fourth three of the half to keep the lead at 13 with a 37-24 advantage.
Green Bay closed the first half on a 7-2 run with four points from Sension to take a 41-26 advantage to the locker room. In the first half alone, Green Bay shot 51.9 percent from the field and an incredible 9-13 from downtown for a 69.2 percent mark.
Bauer carried her red-hot shooting over to the second half as she opened the final frame with a triple to push the lead to 44-26. Milwaukee cut the lead to 44-30 just over a minute later, but it would be as close as the home team would get the rest of the way.
Eichler pushed the lead to 20 points with a pair of free throws at the 10:03 mark, giving the visitors a 61-41 advantage. Eichler scored just three points, but continued her impressive assist streak with six in the game.
Borseth was able to give his reserve players significant time late in the game, including redshirt freshman Taylor Thomas (Wausau, Wis.) who scored four points to help lead the Phoenix to its 24-point victory.
Green Bay shot 47.9 percent from the field with an impressive 12-20 mark from long range for a 60 percent outing. Bauer finished 6-9 from behind the arc, tying her career high for 3-point field goals made in a game. In the effort, she moved into a tie for fifth-place in program history with 156 triples.
"We don't like to rely on shooting the three, but it's nice to know that when we have to we can step up and make those shots," Borseth said.
Ritchie finished with 19 points on a 5-6 effort from long range and added seven rebounds and four assists. Sension had 11 points, while Breannah Ranger (Skokie, Ill.) chipped in 10 points on a 6-6 day from the charity stripe.
Milwaukee was led by Ashley Green with 20 points on 9-17 shooting. Fellow Panther Emily Decorah hit her 94th triple of the season in the effort, a record for both the Panthers and the Horizon League for 3-point field goals made in a season.
The win was the 21st straight for the Phoenix, which will open the 2013 Horizon League tournament on Wednesday at home as the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinal round. Green Bay will play the winner of Valparaiso and UIC, who play in the No. 8/No. 9 play-in game on Monday.