While the torch hasn't been completely passed, the Green Bay Phoenix women's grip on the Horizon League was loosened by Wright State Sunday afternoon at the Kress Events Center as the Raiders stormed past the Phoenix 88-69 to capture the Horizon tournament championship and earn their first automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Green Bay has won or shared the last 16 regular season conference titles and earned the top tourney seed, only to fall in the title game on their home floor.
Green Bay built a 42-36 halftime lead thanks to hot shooting and foul trouble from Horizon League player of the year Kim Demmings of Wright State. Green Bay hit 17 of 28 (60.7%) of their shots while Demmings was held to 4 points in 9 minutes, saddled with three fouls. To open the second half, Demmings simply took over. She hit three, three point hoops and a layup to score 11 points in less than five minutes and Wright State never looked back, piling up 52 second half points and holding Green Bay to just two points over the final 6:08 of the game. Demmings finished with 26 and Tay'ler Mingo piled up 31 points for the winners. Mehryn Kraker led Green Bay with 19, Breannah Ranger scored 16 and Kaili Luken added 11. Freshman of the year Tesha Buck struggled for Green Bay, hitting just 2 of 10 shots before fouling out. Megan Lukan and Sam Zastrow also fouled as the Phoenix uncharacteristically turned the ball over 24 times.
Wright State finished second in the regular season standings, losing two close games to Green Bay and coach Mike Bradbury told his team after the second loss it there's one game to win against the Phoenix, it would be this one and his girls delivered. The Radiers enter the NCAA's with a 26-8 record. Green Bay falls to 22-9 and will likely have to settle for the WNIT.