Enjoying some sun south of the border, the Green Bay women’s basketball team took the court at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya for the opening matchup of the Cancun Challenge against Columbia. The Phoenix (4-0) defense proved once again why it owns one of the best statistical defenses in the country, locking down the Lions (2-3) for a 61-43 victory.
Green Bay broke away from Columbia early, scoring the first eight points of the game after Karly Murphy added five of her career-high 13 points on back-to-back baskets in the first 1:46 of play. Murphy completed an and-one after a steal from Allie LeClaire and a nice dish from Jessica Lindstrom to get the Phoenix on the board first and never allow the team to trail in the game.
The largest deficit that Green Bay has faced this season has been two points, both at Wisconsin and when the team welcomed South Dakota State.
After the first quarter, the Phoenix had constructed an 11-point lead (16-5) and made it clear it had zero intentions of surrendering the advantage. Green Bay’s lead grew to 37-19 when Laken James beat the buzzer at halftime and granted the Phoenix an 18-point lead as the squad headed to the locker room.
Green Bay dominated in the paint much like it has all season, outscoring Columbia 50-12. The Phoenix enjoyed advantages in rebounds (37-29), second-chance points (10-4), steals (8-3), blocks (5-4), assists (9-5) bench points (23-11) and fast-break points (6-0).
The Phoenix did struggle from long range, going 1-for-12 from beyond the arc, but more than made up for it with its strength down low as the team finished 27-for-49 (55.1%) on shots inside the three-point line.
Columbia found minimal success on either side of the ball but did manage to finish 4-of-5 on its final attempts of the day, but all efforts were in vain as Green Bay cruised to a 61-43 victory.
Karly Muphy led all scorers with a career-high 13 points on a 6-for-10 clip and grabbed five rebounds in 14 minutes. Jessica Lindstrom logged her second-straight double-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds in a team-high 30 minutes.
Frankie Wurtz reached double figures for the second-straight game, adding 10 points to the Phoenix tally on 4-of-8 shooting in 24 minutes.
Green Bay will face tough tests over the next two days, with the first coming tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. (CT) when the team takes the court against No. 24/RV Arizona State. The last time the two programs met was Nov. 29, 2014 and ended with a Phoenix victory, 63-57.
Green Bay will close out the Cancun Challenge at 10 a.m. (CT) on Saturday against No. 7/3 Mississippi State.