GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women celebrated Senior Day on Saturday, but it was a pair of juniors who showed the future is just as bright as the present.
UWGB beat Youngstown State 75-41 in front of 3,376 at the Kress Center, improving to 21-4 overall and 12-2 in the Horizon League.
Junior forward Jessica Lindstrom had game-highs of 14 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Allie LeClaire had 12 points, four rebounds and three steals.
The duo shot a combined 10-for-14.
But during an afternoon when the outcome wasn’t in doubt very long – the Phoenix led by 20 at halftime – it was about honoring the senior trio of forwards Mehryn Kraker and Sam Terry and center Lexi Weitzer.
The three spoke to the crowd after the game for about 30 minutes.
Kraker – who is putting the finishing touches on what likely will be considered one of the best careers in program history – had another solid all-around game against YSU in finishing with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Weitzer added a season-high 10 points and five rebounds. Terry, who started in place of Lindstrom, had three points and three boards.
Although the senior class still has at least five games remaining – it includes a final home game against UIC on Feb. 20 – it already has enjoyed a great deal of success.
It includes 99 wins, three Horizon League regular-season championships and two appearances in the NCAA tournament.
The three have combined to score 2,563 points – Kraker has 1,561 of them – and grab 1,101 rebounds.
“I have had an opportunity to coach them for four or five years in some cases,” UWGB coach Kevin Borseth said. “It’s been an absolute thrill for me to be able to do that. They have been really good on the floor, off the floor. Good friends. Leaders. Good teammates.
“D, all the above.”
The road hasn’t always been easy.
Kraker tore an anterior cruciate ligament in a knee while redshirting as a freshman in 2012-13.
Terry dislocated her right knee as a junior at Baraboo High School, missed time as a freshman at UWGB with a meniscus tear and has had five knee surgeries during her collegiate career. She also has battled ankle injuries this season that has forced her to miss nine games.
Kraker and Terry were recruited by former UWGB coach Matt Bollant, although he never got to coach them after leaving for Illinois. Weitzer was Borseth’s first signing when he returned to Green Bay after five seasons at Michigan.
Borseth clearly has meant a great deal to them, evidenced by Kraker’s tears when asked about him.
“He always believed in me,” Kraker said. “I had some rough patches in my career. But to have a coach who you know is always in your corner, I think in college basketball, is rare to find. Who carries himself with such grace, and he is humble.
“He is just here for us. There is no personal agenda. He is just here to motivate us every day. I think that’s rare to find, and I’m thankful that we found it.”
Moment of the game
Terry’s only basket was a memorable one, when she hit a 3 from the top of the arc at the buzzer to end the first quarter and give the Phoenix a 20-14 lead.
It was part of a 19-2 run at the end of the first quarter and into the second that put UWGB up 34-16 with 1 minute, 56 seconds left in the half. The Penguins went more than five minutes during the second quarter without a point.
UWGB also opened the third quarter by scoring the first 10 points, which included six from LeClaire and four from Weitzer.
It led by 30 at that point.
Player of the game
Lindstrom did all her work in just 26 minutes. She was 5-for-6 from the field, including 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
UWGB shot 47 percent overall (28-for-59).
>> The Phoenix outscored the Penguins 34-4 in the paint and holds a big advantage (898-336) over opponents in that department this season. Notre Dame is the only team to outscore UWGB in the paint.
>> The program raised almost $11,000 during its ninth annual PinkZone game on Saturday, with all proceeds going to help benefit families with cancer.
The Phoenix has gone 8-1 all-time in PinkZone games.
>> UWGB’s defense statistically got back on track against YSU after allowing 60 or more points in each of the previous three games. It forced 20 turnovers and held the Penguins to 29.8 percent shooting (14-for-47).
UWGB plays UW-Milwaukee at 7 p.m. Friday at the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee.
The Phoenix matched a season-high with 89 points against the Panthers in the first meeting of the season and beat its in-state rival by 42. UWGB shot 54.1 percent and was led by Lindstrom’s 18 points.
YSU (8-17, 4-10)
Smolinski 3-9 0-0 9, Trimmer 2-6 0-0 6, Myers 0-6 1-2 1, Benjamin 4-8 0-0 10, Dunn 0-2 2-6 2, Hirsch 2-2 0-0 5, Wright 1-4 0-0 3, Brunner 2-6 0-0 5, Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Meese 0-1 0-0 0, Olson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-47 3-8.
UWGB (21-4, 12-2)
Wellnitz 2-6 0-0 5, Kraker 4-10 3-4 12, LeClaire 5-8 1-1 12, Weitzer 5-11 0-3 10, Terry 1-3 0-0 3, Lindstrom 5-6 2-3 14, Wurtz 2-5 3-3 8, Hibner 3-6 0-0 8, James 0-2 0-2 0, MacKenzie Wolf 1-2 1-1 3. Totals 28-59 10-17.
YSU. … 14 7 10 10 – 41
UWGB. … 20 21 21 13 – 75
3-point goals: YSU 10-32 (Smolinski 3-9, Benjamin 2-4, Trimmer 2-4, Myers 0-4, Jones 0-1, Meese 0-1, Hirsch 1-1, Brunner 1-5, Wright 1-3). UWGB 9-25 (Kraker 1-4, Lindstrom 2-3, LeClaire 1-3, Hibner 2-5, Terry 1-3, Weitzer 0-1, Wurtz 1-3, James 0-1). Rebounds: YSU 33 (Myers 6), UWGB 37 (Lindstrom 7), Assists: YSU 11 (Trimmer 4), UWGB 19 (Wellnitz 6). Fouled out: None. Total Fouls: YSU 20, UWGB 12.