Panthers Hang Tough Against Georgia Tech In Opener
Nov. 24, 2012
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Sophomore Ashley Green led four players in double-figures and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team played Georgia Tech evenly for the majority of the game before falling, 66-57, in game one of the San Juan Shootout Saturday afternoon at Morales Coliseum.
The Panthers (2-2) led on several occasions against the Yellow Jackets (3-2), a team that was ranked in both polls in the preseason and was just out of the Top 25 heading into play in the tournament.
"We came in very prepared," UWM head coach Kyle Rechlicz said. "I was extremely proud of our girls in that sense. I was just really proud of our effort - I told the girls that if we play like this all year we are going to win a lot of games in our league. But it takes that consistency. It can't just be playing like this against a Georgia Tech team that went to the Sweet 16 last year to say `we're going to step up'. It has to be game-in and game-out, the same kind of heart and defense."
"We rely on our offense and our shooting ability," Rechlicz said. "We told them, when you get your shot - take it. You can't be scared or timid against an opponent like this. If you are open, you shoot it. And, we missed some shots early and our biggest thing was we missed free throws. We were 8-for-15 from the free throw line and missed the front end on a couple of bonus situations. That's 8-for-17 in my book and it was a nine-point game. That puts into perspective just how important free throws are."
Dawnn Maye scored 10 of her 17 points in the second half to pace the Yellow Jackets, who also got a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds from Tyaunna Marshall.
Milwaukee trailed by just a point at 45-44 at the 11:25 mark, and spent the majority of the next eight minutes of game time trading baskets with Georgia Tech. UWM was within five points at 60-55 with under three minutes to play, but a big three-pointer by Aaliyah Whiteside gave the Yellow Jackets a lead that was too much to overcome.
"I am extremely proud but not satisfied," Rechlicz said. "When we first came into the game, I had a strong belief that we could compete with them and that we could win if we followed the game plan."
The Panthers came out strong, jumping out to a 14-8 lead at the 11:33 mark of the first on a jumper by Green. Georgia Tech responded, going on an 8-2 spurt that tied the contest at 16-16 with just under nine minutes remaining before half.
Milwaukee hung tough, playing against a full-court defense the entire day. The first half featured four ties and six lead changes, with UWM building a 23-20 lead on a pair of free throws by senior Sammy Theut with 4:26 to play. But, the Yellow Jackets rallied, scoring 12 of the final 15 points of the half to take a 32-26 lead into the locker room. The Panthers could have cut into the halftime deficit in the final 60 seconds, but missed the front end of two bonus situations.
The defense out of the gates was terrific, limiting the Yellow Jackets to just two makes on their first 13 attempts and 32.3 percent shooting overall in the first 20 minutes.
Despite playing against a much taller opponent, UWM held its own in the rebounding battle, 42-to-40 overall. The Panthers also held GT to 13.3 percent (2-for-15) on three-pointers in the game.
The team wraps up play in the San Juan Shootout tomorrow, taking on Eastern Kentucky at 11 a.m. CST.