Women's basketball loses to Green Bay in double overtime
After a strong first half, the Central Michigan women's basketball team began missing shots and committing turnovers.
Things were going south in a hurry.
Green Bay finished the third quarter on a 13-3 run highlighted by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from half-court by redshirt senior Frankie Wurtz.
The miracle heave gave the Phoenix a one-point lead going into the fourth, leaving the Chippewas searching for answers.
A furious fourth quarter saw junior guard Micaela Kelly hit a pair of deep 3-pointers, and junior forward Kyra Bussell capped off a career night with 10 fourth-quarter points.
The Chippewas rallied to send the game to overtime – tied at 88.
Yet Heather Oesterle's head coaching debut went down as a loss for the Chippewas (0-1) at McGuirk Arena.
Despite a valiant effort that lasted two overtimes, the Chippewas were outlasted by the Phoenix, 111-105.
"I honestly think we have a really good team," Oesterle said after the loss. "I'm proud of the players and the way they played."
Bussell scored a career-high 29 points, surpassing her previous mark of 20. Kelly scored 20 while her junior backcourt mate Maddy Watters scored 17 on five 3-pointers. Freshman guard Molly Davis had a double-double in her first career game and played nearly 49 minutes.
"They (Green Bay) exposed us in little ways," said Bussell. "We're gonna watch that on film and figure it out and be better for the next game."
Central Michigan got its first points of the season on an and-one layup by Kelly, who converted the free throw to make it 3-0.
The two squads went back and forth for most of the first half, but the Chippewas used an 8-0 run to push their lead to nine with 6:59 to play in the half. The Phoenix were unable to get much closer and trailed 51-43 at the half.
The Chippewas pushed their lead to double digits on a Watters three, leading 64-54 with 3:02 to play in the third. However, the Phoenix got six points from junior guard Lyndsey Robson and the buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Wurtz en route to an 11-0 run, finishing the third with a one-point advantage.
The Phoenix stretched their lead to four before a Bussell 3-point play to cut it to 68-67. The first of two Kelly's deep triples gave the Chippewas a two-point advantage, and the two teams would once again go back and forth.
Robson's 3-pointer tied the game at 72, but Kelly answered with a triple from right in front of the Chippewa bench to regain a three-point advantage.
Wurtz, who finished with 18 points, scored a layup to give the Phoenix a two-point lead, but Bussell answered with a three to give the lead back to Central Michigan.
Davis was whistled for a traveling violation with the team up two and 19.4 seconds remaining.
The Phoenix took advantage, as redshirt-sophomore Karly Murphy scored to tie the game. The two teams were unable to score on their respective final possessions and the contest headed into overtime.
The Phoenix quickly burst out to a 95-90 lead, but Bird hit consecutive three-pointers to give her team a one-point lead. Davis got to the basket after a slick crossover to extend the run to 8-0, and Bussell’s free throw made it 99-95 with 50 seconds remaining.
"Our team showed a ton of fight," Oesterle said. "Gabi Bird hit two huge threes for us."
Wurtz hit a triple to cut the lead to one point with 34.9 seconds and Davis split a pair of free throws to make the score 100-98. Senior forward MacKenna Kelly got a steal and tapped the ball out to Davis, who missed both free throws.
"She (Davis) is gonna be kicking herself for missing those free throws and a couple of those threes, but she'll be back in the gym tomorrow," Oesterle said of the freshman. "She's got a bright future."
It was the senior forward Kelly who tapped the ball loose, however, the Phoenix regained possession and redshirt junior forward Anna Dier was left wide open. Dier converted to tie the game and send the game to double overtime tied at 100.
The Phoenix again jumped out to a four-point lead, but a triple from sophomore Kalle Martinez, the first of her career, cut the lead to a single point. However, after a 3-pointer from Bird rolled off the rim, Green Bay was able to close the victory with clutch free throws from redshirt junior Meghan Pingel.
Watters, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter, was proud of her team's effort.
"I'm just super proud of how everybody stepped up," Watters said. "As you can see, we can all play."
The Chippewas next take the court when they hit the road and take on No. 9 ranked Louisville at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at the KFC Yum! Center.