For the last 10 years the Wright State women’s basketball program hasn’t had an answer for a Wisconsin-Green Bay team that had dominated the series with 24 consecutive wins.
Thursday night in a battle for first place at the Nutter Center, the Raiders had multiple answers.
And they still weren’t enough.
WSU fought back from numerous second-half deficits to force overtime, but the Raiders made 1 of 8 shots in the extra period and fell 79-72.
“It’s frustrating because we put a lot into this game,” WSU junior guard Kim Demmings said. “I felt like we went out there and played our hardest, but the outcome wasn’t what we wanted.”
Demmings and senior guard Ivory James each scored 20 points, but they were a combined 1 of 6 in overtime as the Raiders fell to 20-8 overall and 9-3 in the Horizon League, one game behind the Phoenix (17-8, 10-3).
“That was really anybody’s game,” Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth said. “I don’t know that we ran anything that was organized in the last five minutes of the game and the five minutes of overtime. It was almost like we came unglued against Wright State because they gave us so much pressure and so much heat.”
The Raiders have not beaten the Phoenix since Jan. 5, 2003, and Green Bay owns a remarkable 52-3 edge in the all-time series.
But WSU battled the Phoenix to the wire before succumbing 67-65 in Green Bay last month. And that, coupled with Thursday’s overtime loss, would seem to indicate the Raiders are close to catching up to their nemesis.
“From a talent standpoint we have,” WSU coach Mike Bradbury said. “From a winning standpoint, maybe not yet. We’ve lost two close games to them.
“They’re good, and we’re good,” he added. “You saw arguably the two best teams in the league out there battling to a tie.”
Green Bay missed its first eight shots from 3-point range as Wright State raced out to a nine-point lead. The Phoenix responded with a 17-5 run to take their first lead of the game, but the Raiders immediately came back with one of their many answers in the form of a 10-0 run.
And when Green Bay jumped out a 55-50 lead midway through the second half, Wright State answered with an 8-0 spurt.
Neither team led by more than three for the rest of regulation, but the Phoenix scored the first four points of overtime and added on from there.
“We missed two point-blank layups, or else that score’s completely different,” Bradbury said. “We played hard. They followed the plan. I’m proud of them.”
Tay’ler Mingo added 14 points for WSU, with 10 of them coming at the free throw line. Breanna Stucke came off the bench to score 10, including the tying 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime, and Tayler Stanton pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.
Mehryn Kraker led Green Bay with 19 points before fouling out, and Breannah Ranger had 14 points and 10 rebounds before she fouled out. Tesha Buck also recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards, while Sam Zastrow came off the bench to score a season-high 12 as Green Bay made 45.9 percent of its shots from the floor after starting the game 2 of 12.
The Phoenix outrebounded the Raiders 44-36 and forced them into 19 turnovers. The last time WSU had more turnovers in a game was Dec. 7 at Louisville (22).
“Green Bay’s tough, but at the end of the day we’re tough, too,” Demmings said. “It was two tough teams going at it.”
WSU plays at home Saturday against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.