The Green Bay Phoenix women’s basketball team came to the Jungle on Feb. 28, 2019 to defend their 2nd place ranking in the Horizon League against the IUPUI Jaguars, who entered ranked third. The Jaguars were victorious against the Phoenix in the previous contest in Green Bay. This time, it was the Phoenix that emerged victorious, 45-43, in a defensive struggle.
The Jaguars lacked the focus that got them the win last time early in this game, committing three early turnovers as Green Bay smothered Macee Williams in the low post. Katelyn O’Riley finally broke a 3 minute, 30 second scoring drought by capitalizing on an easy fast break generated from a Hoopingarner steal.
It was a physical contest on the court with lots of elbows, pushing, and jump balls from the two teams attempting to wrestle the ball away from each other. As the Jaguars struggled to get back in the game, a lapse in communication caused Holly Hoopingarner to commit a five second violation during an attempt to pass the ball inbound. The first quarter concluded with the Jaguars down 11-16.
With Macee in foul trouble and the Jaguars shooting poorly behind the line, the Phoenix settled into a zone defense at the beginning of the second quarter. With 4 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first half, Coach Parkinson made his move to go with a smaller lineup to increase the defensive pressure and utilize a full court press.
Green Bay was determined to reign behind the three-point line in the first half, shooting an efficient 50 percent. With just over one minute left in the second quarter, Katelyn O’Reilly pulled down a rebound, made an outlet pass to Tamya Sims, who promptly returned it back to O’Reilly for a rallying three point conversion. After another Green Bay field goal, the Jaguars controlled the ball for the last 26 seconds of the 1st half, and ended it with a three-pointer at the buzzer by Sydney Roule to go in the locker down 27-32.
IUPUI’s Holly Hoopingarner came out hustling as usual at the start of the 3rd quarter, scoring the first points on a back door pass from O’Reilly. After five minutes of stifling defensive play from both teams, the score tallied 31-36. The Jags grew steady in a high-post attack, freeing up Macee Williams down low to dominate the boards. The Jags pulled down 15 of their 45 rebounds in the third quarter alone. Williams came down with six of those 15, (three offensive and three defensive). With one minute left in the third quarter, Holly Hoopingarner converted a 15 foot jumper to tie the game. The quarter ended tied at 41.
Hoopingarner again proved to be a vital asset at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a steal that lead to an easy basket. This would be the Jaguar’s last basket of the game and their only lead. Green Bay made good on two trips to the free throw line for four points in the quarter, good enough to secure the victory.
“They were a good team,” head coach Austin Parkinson said. “Obviously we want to win, but I told the girls that if we win, we have to be able to handle the emotions of staying focused going into the tournament; and if we lose, we obviously need to regroup and get ready for the last game of the regular season.”
IUPUI wraps up its regular season on Saturday, Mar. 2 at home against Milwaukee. The Horizon League Tournament begins Mar. 5.