Women’s season ends with NCAA loss to unbeaten Princeton, 80-70

UW-Green Bay (28-5) gave undefeated Princeton (31-0) all it could handle on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, taking a 35-34 lead into halftime. However, the nation’s best three-point shooting team knocked down 9-of-16 from long range and dominated the glass in posting an 80-70 win over the Phoenix. Sophomore Mehryn Kraker led Green Bay with a game-high 21 points and junior Kaili Lukan added 17 points and eight rebounds. Read more.

President Obama takes in Phoenix game vs Princeton
UW-Green Bay is now 0-1 in games attended by American presidents. President of the United States and famous basketball fan Barack Obama spent part of his Saturday at the NCAA tournament game between No. 8 seed Princeton and No. 9 seed UW-Green Bay at Xfinity Center in College Park, Md. Though Obama was openly rooting for the Tigers, their opponents told the media they were just as excited by the VIP spectator’s presence. Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth interrupted the usual line of questioning at his postgame press conference to talk about it. “Can I talk about the president?” he said. “I thought that was pretty cool. I shook his hand and took a picture.” Phoenix sophomore Mehryn Kraker tried to make sure Obama’s presence didn’t have a negative impact. “We just said ‘focus.’ A couple of our freshmen were a little starry-eyed coming out, and we were like, ‘let’s go!’ It’s a big deal, don’t get me wrong, but we needed to focus on the game.” See the Green Bay Press-Gazette story (along with a photo of the Borseth/Obama pregame handshake).

Trenton (N.J.) coverage quoted the Phoenix at http://www.trentonian.com/sports/20150321/president-barack-obama-turns-up-to-cheer-on-princeton 
Or, check ESPN at http://espn.go.com/womens-college-basketball/tournament/2015/story/_/id/12530061/barack-obama-attends-princeton-green-bay-ncaa-women-tournament-game

Meanwhile, Phoenix women claim runnerup spot in NCAA tourney (academics)

The fourth annual Inside Higher Ed academic bracket for the National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball tournament has the UW-Green Bay women going all the way to the finals vs. DePaul. The publication puts a twist on the on-court competition by judging each game on academic performance as measured by the NCAA’s team-by-team classroom performance metric, and the graduation success rate. So, according to Inside Higher Ed hypothetical academics bracket… We’re No. 2! We’re No. 2! Very impressive.

Mrs. Obama will be rooting for Princeton

We came across this factoid in reading some of the national coverage on the Princeton/UWGB matchup. It seems Michelle Obama is a Princeton rooter — her niece is freshman forward Leslie Robinson — and sometimes gives locker room motivational speeches. And hosts White House visits. The First Lady, a Princeton grad, and the First Daughters have attended Tigers games in the past. We wonder if she’ll make the short trip to College Park this Saturday. Read down about two-thirds of the way.

Informal sendoff planned for Phoenix women


The UW-Green Bay women’s basketball program will be welcoming the public and media to the Kress Center Thursday (March 19) to help send the team off in style, as the Phoenix departs for the airport to board a charter flight bound for Washington D.C. and the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The bus will be departing the Kress Events Center (the front desk, fitness center and Bennett Gymnasium doors) at 12:30 p.m. sharp. They’ll start loading the gear on the bus at 12:15.

30-0 Tigers a tough draw for 28-4 Phoenix

The No. 9 seed Phoenix women (28-4) will face undefeated No. 8 seed Princeton (30-0) in the NCAA First Round on Saturday (March 21) morning at 10 a.m. Central at the Xfnity Center on the campus of the University of Maryland. The game can be watched on ESPN2 locally. (Fans outside of Wisconsin might have to dial up ESPN3, online.) Should Green Bay advance, it would face the winner of No. 1 seed Maryland and No. 16 seed New Mexico State on Monday (March 23) at 5:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN2. Princeton, ranked 13th in the country, is the lone unbeaten women’s basketball team in the country after winning the regular season title in the Ivy League. Read more.

Reminder: Phoenix Bookstore has Phoenix March Madness gear

The Phoenix Bookstore is open today, Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during spring break for all your March Madness shopping needs. They tell us that “limited-edition official NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament t-shirts and remaining clearance items are some of the great things available at your campus store.”

ESPN analyst thinks Tigers, Phoenix are victims of big-school bias


ESPN.com’s very capable women’s college basketball writer, Graham Hays, sees dark motives in the NCAA tournament selection committee’s seeding decisions: It’s all about maintaining the Power 5 conference monopoly. As evidence he points to matching two of the very best “mid majors,” — Princeton and a certain team well known to people here at UW-Green Bay — in an 8 vs. 9 first-round game. One of them will be sent home on opening day, sparing at least one major-conference team the trauma of having had to face a scrappy outsider. That’s Hays’ theory, anyway. Not sure we believe it… although, now that he’s raised the issue… the six other No. 8 and 9 seeds in the field who could have been possible opponents for either the Tigers or Phoenix are Big Ten, Big East, Big Ten, Big East, Big Ten, ACC schools. Read the Hays article. Of course, the bracket as designed also ensures a spot in the Round of 32 for either Princeton or UWGB, so who knows? In any event… Go Phoenix!

Women’s NCAA Tournament shirts are in


The Phoenix Bookstore informs us the NCAA Women’s Basketball t-shirts are here! They’re available at the store in the University Union, online at www.THEphoenixbookstore.com, and at Monday night’s selection-show watch party at the Kress. To take a look at a sample, go to the bookstore Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/THEphoenixbookstore.

Selection-show party at the Kress

The UW-Green Bay women’s basketball team will be hosting an NCAA Selection Show viewing party at the Kress Events Center today (Monday, March 16), beginning at 5:30 p.m. The show, aired live nationally on ESPN, starts at 6 p.m. CDT and will announce this year’s 68-team NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament field.

Classic battle vs Wright State gave Phoenix the NCAA bid

No doubt about it, it was one of the most exciting, evenly contested and well-played women’s basketball contests seen in these parts. UW-Green Bay (28-4) needed overtime Sunday to pull out a thrilling 86-77 victory over second-seeded Wright State (25-8) in the 2015 Horizon League Championship at the Kress Events Center. Tournament MVP Tesha Buck, a sophomore, had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and two reserves — freshman Allie LeClaire (17 points, all after halftime) and sophomore Sam Terry (16 points total) — helped lead the way. See photos and more from the championship victory.

Tournament selection shows: men’s Sunday, women’s Monday

Despite a disappointing title loss on Valpo’s home floor Tuesday night, there is perhaps a very faint glimmer of hope the Phoenix men (24-8) will hear their name called during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show at 5 p.m. CDT Sunday (March 15) on CBS. Saturday’s computer rankings had Coach Brian Wardle’s basketball team at an impressive No. 55 in the RPI. (Every year, it seems one or more team(s) in the 50s gets an at-large bid.) Much more likely, of course, is a call from the NIT. The 32 teams of that tournament will be unveiled at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.

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Are women in, regardless? — The women’s NCAA selection show is 6 p.m. Monday (March 16), with the 64-team field and pairings announced on ESPN. First-round games are Friday and Saturday (March 20 and 21) at campus sites, TBA. Analysts say UW-Green Bay would have a solid chance at an at-large bid even with a loss in Sunday’s Horizon finals, with non-conference wins over major programs and a sub-30 RPI for most of the season. For the latest RPI, http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/basketball-women/d1/ncaa-womens-basketball-rpi.

Phoenix need to beat top seed Valpo on home floor


Seeking its first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 1996, the second-seeded Phoenix men (24-7) will play for the Horizon League tournament title at top-seeded Valparaiso (27-5) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CDT. Green Bay advanced with a 70-56 victory over UIC on Saturday in the semifinals as Keifer Sykes scored 23 of his game-high 30 points in the second half. For a championship preview.

Athletics arranges fan bus for students


UW-Green Bay Intercollegiate Athletics is arranging a free fan bus for students interested in taking the five-hour ride to Valparaiso, Ind. on Tuesday. The bus leaves at noon from the Kress Events Center. Questions may be directed to the Athletics front desk at 465-2145.

Don’t have cable? Athletics encourages you to come to The Bar
Green Bay Athletics is planning another “watch party” at The Bar on Holmgren Way in Ashwaubenon. High-definition viewing and 35-cent wings for those wearing Phoenix apparel on Tuesday night. More here.