Phoenix Head to Sunshine State After 2-1 Start to Season

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The Green Bay women’s basketball team is off to a 2-1 start to the 2022-23 basketball season. Green Bay kicked off the season with a loss at Drake, but responded with a home thumping of Marist at the Kress Center, and a narrow victory at Saint Louis last week.

In the season opener against Drake, the Phoenix played tough with a Bulldogs team that has had a very impressive start to the season. After defeating Green Bay, Drake welcomed two ranked opponents to the Knapp Center, where they took #4 Iowa to overtime, and defeated #22 Nebraska in a game that the Bulldogs pretty much controlled throughout. Fifth-year senior Hailey Oskey (4 points) never really got going offensively in the opener, and the Phoenix were done in by a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter, which all but sealed the game from Des Moines. Surely it would have been nice to leave Iowa with a more positive result, but given Drake’s strong start to the season, the loss isn’t looking too shabby right now.

Green Bay responded with a 29 point blowout win over Marist in their second game of the year. The Phoenix never trailed, and looked every bit like the Horizon League contender that they are expected to be. Oskey led the way with 19 points. Cassie Schiltz and graduate transfer Tatum Koenig chipped in 11 and 10, respectively. Kevin Borseth’s team suffocated Marist, limiting the Red Foxes to 29% shooting overall, and just 2-23 (8.7%) from the arc. Maybe more importantly, Green Bay shot 45.8% from the field, 41.2% from three, and no player topped Oskey’s 25 minutes of action. This one is a bit tough to judge – a Marist team that was picked in the middle of the pack in the MAAC, coming into the game 0-2 – should it have been a blowout victory? Either way, a win in dominating fashion over a Red Foxes team to avenge a loss in the 2019-2020 season has got to feel good for Borseth and Co.

Green Bay picked up a close 73-70 victory on the road over another hard-to-judge Saint Louis University team that has started the season 1-5 under first year coach Rebecca Tillett. On paper, this is looking like a game Green Bay should have won, but it was not without a battle. Kyla McMakin finished the game with 31 points for Saint Louis, and the Phoenix struggled at times to contain 6-foot-5-inch Brooke Flowers inside. On the bright side, however, all five starters finished in double figures for Green Bay, the Phoenix forced the Billikens into 18 turnovers, and used clutch free throw shooting from Oskey, Schiltz, and Bailey Butler to seal the game on the road.

Borseth’s squad has, once again, benefitted from a balanced scoring attack to start the season, with eight players averaging at least six points per game through the first three contests. Green Bay’s “win by committee” attitude has not changed, but they have looked to play with a little more pace than they have in the past. The Phoenix have averaged 71.3 points per game through the first three games, and look much more dangerous on the offensive side of the ball than they have in the past couple of years. Perhaps this can be attributed to greater depth, more experience, a greater offensive cohesiveness, or a combination of the three. Either way, if Green Bay is to get back to the top of the Horizon League, they will have to eliminate the scoring droughts that have plagued them in recent seasons, and it looks like Borseth could have the talent to make that happen.

Green Bay will be the only HL team in action on Thanksgiving Day, as they battle Florida as part of the St. Pete’s Showcase at the McArthur Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Gators have started the year 4-1, beating four mid-majors in the process, with their only loss coming to Florida State. This will likely shape out to be one of the toughest games on the schedule for the Phoenix, but one with great opportunity to get a win over a high-major school that is currently receiving votes in the latest AP poll. The Phoenix will take the court the following day against a Northeastern squad that has started the season 2-3.

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