Welcome home: Green Bay women return from the Big Dance

The UW-Green Bay Phoenix women’s basketball team returned from an incredible game that capped an amazing season March 20, the day after losing an oh-so-close match-up to Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Down by 17 at the half, the Phoenix women never gave up, and came roaring back to talk the lead late in the game. They couldn’t quite hold on for the win, but the furious comeback capped what the Green Bay Press-Gazette called “the most memorable game in (the program’s) 39-year history.” A proud campus crowd met the team when its police-escorted bus arrived back on campus around noon March 20. Here’s what Coach Matt Bollant and seniors Hannah Quilling and Julie Wojta had to say:

“You hope and pray that it’s going to fall your way —and you know, last night it didn’t. But it’s not the defining moment in our season, and we’re all well aware of that. And you know, we had a great run.”

“I just think it showed what kind of team we are. You know, we’re not going to roll over and give up, and I think everyone in the nation saw that. And it all came down to one play, and we just weren’t able to come up with that play that we needed. … For people to never give up, and keep that fight, it just says a lot about every girl on this team.”

“I think you always want to leave feeling like you gave your best. And you know, for Julie and Hannah, I think they can put their heads on the pillow at night and realize, gosh, they really competed and gave their best.”

“That’s what March Madness is all about, and I think it’s what you dream of coming up,” Quilling said. “And I’ve said it before, but this program is so much more than what kids think it’s going to be like — and it embodies so much more than just the basketball, and so much more than just the environment that we had. And it’s about the girls you spend it with, the fans that travel that far to see it and it’s just an amazing feeling.”

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