The Wright State women’s basketball team had its way against No. 19 Green Bay for much of their Horizon League opener, grabbing leads of six points in the third quarter and four early in the final period.
But the Raiders couldn’t come up with clutch baskets or key stops down the stretch while falling, 58-51. And that’s become a pattern against quality opposition this season.
“We’ve yet to play 40 whole minutes of good basketball,” coach Katrina Merriweather said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened today in the last five minutes where we had some defensive breakdowns.
“The one thing we talked about was, ‘If you’re going to beat a team like Green Bay, everybody’s got to show up.’ We had defensive mistakes and missed some shots we normally make. That’s a recipe for a seven-point loss to the 19th-ranked team in the country.”
Senior Chelsea Welch, who had a game-high 22 points, converted a three-point play with five minutes left to make it 46-46. But the Raiders (9-4) went almost three minutes without scoring, falling behind by four.
Welch finally drove for a bucket at 2:15 to cut the margin to two. And after Green Bay miss, Emily Vogelpohl was fouled with 1:51 left.
A 72.7-percent free-throw shooter, she missed both attempts. And Green Bay (11-1) finished the game on an 8-3 run.
The Phoenix, who have won 19 straight conference crowns, had a considerable size advantage. Their starting post players were 6-4 and 6-1, while the Raiders’ tallest starter is 5-11 Lexi Smith.
“We don’t get intimidated. Our team sees them like any other team,” said Welch, who did all of her scoring in the final three quarters. “I think we fought hard and did the best we could. They made some shots. They’re a great team.”
Wright State lost to Green Bay on the opening weekend last season, but the two teams shared the conference title with 15-3 records.
The Raiders’ last win against the Phoenix was an 88-69 upset in the Horizon League tourney finals in 2014.
Their last regular-season win was a 76-62 decision on Jan. 5, 2003. They’ve gone 1-32 in the series since then.
Milwaukee at Wright State, 1:30 p.m.