Women’s basketball to open year on the road

By Frank Gogola

Women’s basketball will open its 2013/14 season on the road at 7 p.m. Friday against the Green Bay Phoenix, a perennial Horizon League power.

The Huskies defeated the Div. II Lewis Flyers in their lone preseason game this season, 76-72. Despite missing the defensive consistency from past years, they had a great offensive showing early on and held on late to seal the victory.

Five Huskies scored in double digits in the win, and junior guard Amanda Corral paced the Huskies with 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Corral, who led the Huskies in scoring (12.7), rebounds (5.0) and assists (2.0) last season, will start at the two-guard spot, which will give her more freedom to move without the ball.

The Huskies showed in their preseason victory they can score at times, but they will need their defense to show up against the Phoenix, a top-notch opponent.

The Phoenix went 29-3 last season, including 16-0 in conference play and 16-0 at home, and won their two preseason games this season by double digits. They have won or had a share of the Horizon League regular-season title for 15 straight seasons, and despite graduating four starters, they were chosen as the Horizon League preseason favorite for a sixth season.

“With their history as a program, Green Bay is going to come out and play hard,” said assistant coach Latrell Fleming. “We’re going to have a battle on our hand[s]. They’re going to raise their banner from their NCAA Tournament appearance last year, so I know they are going to be ready for the game. It’s going to be a near sellout, so it’s going to be [a] nice atmosphere up there.”

Green Bay graduated five seniors from last season’s roster, including four starters. They lost their four leading scorers and four of their five leading rebounders. The two main returners for Green Bay are redshirt junior guard Megan Lukan and redshirt senior forward Breannah Ranger.

Lukan was selected to the preseason all-league first team and is the lone returning starter. She was sixth on the team in scoring (7.1), third in steals (1.3) and first in assists (4.4) last season.

Ranger was named to the preseason all-league second team. Last year, she was the leading scorer coming off the bench (7.3) and was first on the team in rebounds (5.1).

“They have one returning starter this season [Lukan], and another girl, Ranger, who played a lot of minutes for them last season,” Fleming said. “So they’ll have a lot of girls who are planning on stepping up and making a name for themselves, so they’ll come out playing hard.”