Nov. 28, 2012
Home for a quick stop in Milwaukee after a trip to Puerto Rico for the San Juan Shootout, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team heads right back to the road for a trip to Normal, Ill., for a non-conference midweek clash with Illinois State University. Tip off for the contest is set for 7:05 p.m. Thursday evening and the broadcast is available on-line for a fee on RedbirdHD.tv.
The Last Meeting
December 28, 2010
Panthers Fall At Illinois State, 76-69
Lindsay Laur had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Amanda Viehauser made her season debut with 13 points and five rebounds, but it was not enough as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team lost its sixth-straight game with a 76-69 loss to Illinois State Tuesday evening at Redbird Arena.
The Panthers (3-8) made a furious comeback for the third-straight game, cutting a 16-point deficit to just four late in regulation, but it was not enough as the Redbirds (7-3) pulled away down the stretch.
UWM Game Notes
Looking At Illinois State
After finishing second in the Missouri Valley Conference last year, the Redbirds return several familiar faces from last year's squad. ISU lost two starters, but return four along with 10 letterwinners. Along with the returners, ISU will welcome three freshmen and Janae Smith (16.8 ppg), who had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. So far in 2012-13, the team is 3-2, posting an 83-68 victory over Western Kentucky in its most recent outing. Candace Sykes (18.3 ppg) and Jamie Russell (17.4 ppg) lead the offense.
The Panthers trail the all-time series by a 5-1 count with the NCAA Division-I part of the ledger favors Illinois State at 3-1. The teams last played in December of 2010, a 76-69 Redbird victory.
Angela Rodriguez scored a game-high 19 points and made all four of her free throw attempts in the final 16 seconds to help Milwaukee secure a 68-64 victory over Eastern Kentucky University Sunday afternoon at Morales Coliseum.
The Panthers (3-2) trailed the Colonels (3-2) by 10 points early in the game, but used a 19-6 scoring run to get back into it and then iced the game at the line late. After starting the day 5-for-14 from the charity stripe, Milwaukee made nine of its last 10 - including all six in the final 24 seconds of the contest to finish the weekend at 1-1 in the San Juan Shootout.
Senior Sami Tucker added 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds and sophomore Ashley Green chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds. Freshman Avyanna Young had seven points and sophomore Janna Swopshire added six points and three boards.
Make `Em When It Counts
The Panthers were just 13-for-29 (44.8 percent) from the free throw line throughout the majority of their two games in the San Juan Shootout, but then sank nine of their last 10 attempts against Eastern Kentucky Nov. 25 - including the final six in the last 23.9 seconds (two by sophomore Ashley Green/four by junior Angela Rodriguez) to close out the win.
Green Means Go
After scoring just five points in the season opener, sophomore Ashley Green went on a three-game roll against Wisconsin, Western Michigan and Georgia Tech where she set new a new career-high in points in back-to-back games (first at 19, then at 20) and led the team in scoring and rebounds for three outings in a row. That marked the first such streak by a UWM player since Lindsay Laur led the Panthers in points and rebounds for four games in a row Feruary 10-24, 2011.
Five Over Ten = Team Effort
The Panthers had five players score in double-figures against Western Michigan Nov. 14, which was a notable accomplishment. The last time UWM had at least five players score 10 or more points? The answer would be January 24, 2009 against Loyola - a total of 109 games ago.
Out Of The Chutes
It may have been just three games, but at 2-1, the Panthers won two of their first three contests for just the second time in the past 11 seasons. The only other 2-1 start in that span came in the 2009-10 campaign.
Now at 3-2, the only other season a UWM team has had a better start in the past 20-plus years was that 2009-10 squad that started 4-1. Prior to that, the 1988-89 team was a perfect 5-0.
Making A Name For Herself
Head coach Kyle Rechlicz was named the seventh coach in program history in the offseason. Now, she's off to one of the best starts - becoming the first UWM coach to win three of her first five contests of her initial campaign.
Rechlicz is also one of the youngest coaches at the NCAA Division I level. At 32, there are just seven coaches who have earlier birth years - DeUnna Hendrix of High Point University is the youngest at 28, while a pair of head coaches are 30 and a group of four check in at 31.
The Panthers heated up from downtown against Western Michigan Nov. 14, coming close to quite a few team records when it comes to three-pointers after they hit 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) from beyond the arc. The first was team percentage in a game. Only a 78.6 percent clip (11-of-14) against Central Michigan back on December 17, 2000 was better in program history. The 13 total three's also came close to the school mark of 15 (set twice, most recently against Wright State December 31, 2010) and junior Emily Decorah's 5-of-6 performance (83.3 percent) was the sixth-best single-game performance in program history.
More On The 3's
The Panthers have been clicking on offense so far, scoring over 80 points twice and currently leading the Horizon League in scoring average at 70.2 points per game. The three-point shooting has certainly helped - UWM is hitting at an impressive 41.6 percent clip (42-for-101) from long distance so far to easily lead the league (Green Bay is second at 35.5 percent). To rank that nationally, UWM finds itself 11th in the country in 3-point field goal percentage and 12th in 3's made per game. Junior Angela Rodriguez has led the way individually - making 13 of her 22 attempts to pace the conference at 59.1 percent, a number that ranks seventh at the NCAA D-I level.
Milwaukee continues to push the ball on offense under new head coach Kyle Rechlicz. The 88 points against Western Michigan Nov. 14 marked the most for a Milwaukee squad in the regular season since an 88-65 win over SIU Edwardsville in November of 2008. The team also netted 88 points in its exhibition against Hillsdale Nov. 3.
To put the league-leading scoring average of 70.2 points a game in perspective, in last year's final NCAA rankings, UWM's offense was 239th in the NCAA and eighth in the league at 58.7 points per contest. In the first NCAA report this season, they top the conference and are 69th nationally.
Green Does It Again
For the second outing in a row, sophomore Ashley Green set a career-high in points scored. She actually one-upped the accomplishment against Western Michigan Nov. 14, setting a new career-high in rebounds as well. Prior to the Wisconsin game, Green's previous bests in points was 18 (set twice last season) and in rebounds was 13 (set against Loyola March 3 last season). She netted 19 against the Badgers Nov. 11 and then topped it again against the Broncos with 20 points and 14 rebounds. The double-double was the first for a UWM player this season and the second of Green's career.
Senior Sammy Theut was the fifth player to record double-figures in points against the Broncos Nov. 14, sinking a pair of free throws with just 1.4 seconds left to finish with 11 points. Not only was that nearly a career-high (she scored 12 against Western Illinois in November of 2010), but she finished the night without a miss of any type: 2-2 on field goals, 1-1 on 3FG's and 6-6 from the free throw line.
Sami Tucker was named to the Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team in the league's annual preseason poll of head coaches, media members and sports information directors. In addition, College Sports Madness also named Tucker to its All-Horizon League Second Team for the second year in a row.
Start `Em Young
The Panthers were led in rebounding by a freshman in the season opener, as Avyanna Young collected nine boards to go along with her seven points in her UWM debut against Chicago State Nov. 9. That marked the second time in three seasons a frosh has led the team in rebounds in the season opener (Angela Rodriguez had seven to lead the way her freshman campaign) and it also marks highest rebound total ever for a freshman in a UWM season opener. The former mark was seven, done three times, most recently by Rodriguez. Young also tied for the team lead in rebounds in game two (with six) at Wisconsin.
Play Them All
The Panthers had all 12 players who were suited up for the season opener against Chicago State Nov. 9 play in the game. In fact, 10 of them found their way into the scoring column and 11 saw at least 10 minutes of playing time.
The Panthers now hold a 7-16 record in season-openers at the NCAA Division I level (dating back to 1990-91) after the 82-58 win over Chicago State Nov. 9. A year ago, UWM dropped a 68-51 decision to Wisconsin in the first game of the year.
The Panthers had a pair of returning players eclipse the 500-point mark in their careers last season. Senior Sami Tucker started the campaign with 483 and tallied her 500th at Drake Nov. 18. Junior Angela Rodriguez joined the club against Loyola Dec. 29, scoring 14 to move to 502 and become the 30th player to score 500 points in a career in program history.
Senior Sami Tucker became the 29th player to score over 500 points in a career and also added the title of 22nd player in program history to collect 500 rebounds during her junior campaign. Of the 14 she grabbed Feb. 23, her second of the game gave her No. 500. The last to accomplish the feat was Lindsay Laur (2007-11), who ended her career in fifth-place all-time with 791.
Returning Starters + One
The Panthers return three starters from the regular rotation in senior Sami Tucker (30 starts in 30 games), junior Angela Rodriguez (28 in 28) and sophomore Ashley Green (24 in 30). And, with junior Emily Decorah also returning from injury after starting the first six games of the 2011-12 campaign, the team essentially has four starters returning to the mix for 2012-13.
Ashley Green was named to the All-Horizon League All-Newcomer Team after averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. She started 24 out of 30 games on the season.
Milwaukee used a very young roster last season and the proof was in the numbers. Freshman and sophomores accounted for 113 of 150 starts (75.3%) and 4,221 of 6,025 minutes played (70.1%) last season. Sami Tucker was the only regular starter that was a junior or senior.
The Panthers took on Green Bay twice last year, facing their third different nationally-ranked opponent. UWM also played No. 1/1 Baylor and No. 24/23 Oklahoma earlier last season. Milwaukee has now played 33 games all-time against nationally-ranked opponents in program history.
Trial By Fire
Ashley Green found her way into the starting rotation just six games into her freshman season. She responded well, going on to average 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. In league play, she picked it up another notch, leading the team with 12.2 points per contest on 46.8 percent shooting from the floor.
Sami Tucker posted three-consecutive double-doubles last season, ending with 21 points and 11 rebounds at Western Michigan Dec. 3. The most recent comparable streak of consecutive double-doubles was in 2010-11 when Lindsay Laur posted five in a row (Dec. 19-Jan. 6).
Youth is Served
The Panthers will indeed be a young squad again this season, with the projected starting lineup being comprised of just one senior. In addition, five true freshmen join Milwaukee in 2012-13, giving the team a total of nine players (out of 15 on the roster) who will be either sophomores or freshmen.
Get Your Popcorn Ready
Fans will have the opportunity to watch the Panthers all season long. The team will play six games on television, returning to Time Warner Sports 32. Another 16 games will be carried live online on the Horizon League Network. For the Panthers' Sports 32 contests, Bob Brainerd and former UWM great Maria Viall will once again be calling the action.
Hit Us at 920 on the Dial
Every Milwaukee regular season game will once again be available on the radio and online via AM 920 The Wolf. Scott Warras is back for his seventh season donning the headset. Fans can also catch Warras' call with the majority of the team's HLN webcasts.
Rechlicz Welcomes Her New Staff
Head coach Kyle Rechlicz rounded out her staff in the offseason by naming Frank Goldsberry, Jessica Wilhite and Janese Banks as members of her coaching staff.
Goldsberry had served as the women's director of basketball operations and video coordinator at Dayton University since 2003 before adding the title of assistant director of compliance to his duties last season. Wilhite returned to her alma mater last year as video coordinator and remains with the staff in 2012-13 as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Banks spent last season as a graduate assistant at Auburn University, assisting in all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the women's basketball team.
More New Faces
Head coach Kyle Rechlicz welcomed some new faces to her support staff in the offseason as well. Gina Gonzales joins the staff as the Director of Basketball Operations, Latrell Fleming as the Video Coordinator and Haylie Linn as the Graduate Manager.
Gonzales comes from Missouri State University, where she spent last season as the Athletics Marketing Graduate Assistant. Fleming spent the past four seasons as a coach in the AAU ranks in the Milwaukee area and Linn recently wrapped up her collegiate career in 2011-12 at the University of Toledo.
The Panthers continue on to Michigan for a Saturday matchup against Michigan State. Tipoff against the Spartans is set for 3 p.m. CST.