Wright State falls to Green Bay in HL title game

The heavily favored Green Bay women’s team looked a little sluggish in advancing to its eighth consecutive Horizon League championship game, but once the Phoenix got there, the throttle opened and Wright State couldn’t do anything about it.

Tournament MVP Allie LeClaire scored 24 points, and Jessica Lindstrom had 12 points and 14 rebounds as Green Bay rolled past Wright State and into the NCAA tournament with a 62-44 triumph Tuesday afternoon at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.

“This one obviously hurts,” Raiders coach Katrina Merriweather said. “When you have a team that is committed to playing as hard as they can, doing the best they can for each other, you always want to end on a better note than this. What probably hurts more than anything is how disappointed (the players) are that there wasn’t a better showing.”

The Phoenix, ranked 22 nationally, improved to 29-3 this year and 62-4 all-time against Wright State while winning their fourth consecutive HL tournament title, eighth in nine years and 16th overall.

No other current Horizon League members has more than two.

Wright State (23-10) posted season lows in points, shooting percentage (27.8) and 3-point percentage (7.7) against a Green Bay defense that Merriweather called the best in the country.

“That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact,” she said.

›› RELATED: Changes coming to NCAA selection show

The Phoenix focused on HL Player of the Year Chelsea Welch, holding her to 2 of 15 shooting.

“Shots just really weren’t falling,” said Welch, who was 9 of 11 from the free throw line to finish with 13 points. “I think we got a lot of decent looks actually. There are just days they don’t fall.”

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

Senior Lexi Smith led the Raiders with 14 points. Mackenzie Taylor only scored five points but earned a spot on the all-tournament team along with Welch and the Green Bay trio of LeClaire, Lindstrom and Jen Wellnitz.

The Raiders went down 10 points in the first quarter and trailed by double digits for the final 27 minutes.

›› ARCHDEACON: X-factor Simmons earns a new nickname for WSU women

But they trimmed a 21-point deficit to 11 late in the third quarter when Nia Sumpter got a steal, layup and free throw. WSU forced a turnover after that and had the ball with a chance to slice the deficit to single digits. But the Raiders missed their next six shots, and Green Bay used a 10-0 run to pull away for good.

With a fifth consecutive 20-win season and an RPI ranking of 86, Merriweather said she thinks her team deserves a fourth consecutive invitation to the WNIT and expects to receive one.

“Continuing to play is always going to be beneficial,” Merriweather said. “Plus Lexi and Chelsea do deserve the opportunity to continue their season.”

Reader Comments

Next Up in Sports

Girls Basketball: Tecumseh gears up for league title chase, postseason
Girls Basketball: Tecumseh gears up for league title chase, postseason

The Tecumseh High School girls basketball program has lofty goals this season. After winning their third straight Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division title, the Arrows upset top-seeded Lebanon in the Division I postseason tournament, but were bounced by Fairmont in the next round. Tecumseh (2-2, 2-0 CBC Kenton Trail) has loaded its schedule...
Ohio State football season review: Defense a major disappointment
Ohio State football season review: Defense a major disappointment

What was expected In short, another dominating unit.  Ohio State ranked fifth in defensive S&P+ (an advanced metric that combines play-by-play efficiency and explosiveness, much like OPS in baseball) in 2016 and eighth in 2017.  Despite the loss of seven starters, SBNation/Football Outsiders numbers projected a third-straight top 10 unit...
COMMENTARY: Big Ten realignment a solution for a problem that does not exist
COMMENTARY: Big Ten realignment a solution for a problem that does not exist

Jim Delany said last week the Big Ten has had discussions about realigning or eliminating its divisions.  Let’s be clear: Neither should happen.  Concerns about imbalance existed since the (welcome) switch to geographical divisions in 2014, but they ignored the possible positive outcome that has come to pass in four of the five...
HS Scores 12/11: Herbert leads Beavercreek in win

Alter 56, LaSalle 49: Uhl (A) 23; Lemons (L) 16 Carlisle 66, Milton Union 44: Gay (C) 19, Stone (MU) 12. Beavercreek 60, Fairborn 57: Herbert (B) 18; Monore (F) 32 Catholic Central 55, Greeneview 34: Doolittle (S) 20; Caudill (G) 14. Fairbanks 85, Triad 56: Hackathorne (F) 15; Bundy (T) 11. Fort Loramie 47, Houston 40: Brandewie (F) 13; Leist (H) 11...
HS Roundup 12/11: Rubin leads Oakwood boys in rally win

The Oakwood boys basketball team rallied in the second half for a 48-45 win versus Valley View on Tuesday. Darren Rubin scored 16 points and Daniel Hu had 11 for Oakwood. Gio Geiger totaled 13 points and Cade Cradlebaugh 10 for Valley View. Boys Basketball Alter 56, LaSalle 49: Brady Uhl led the way with 23 points and Conor Stolly added 11 to help...
More Stories