Injury prompts surge

By David Lance

Even with the North Star Conference title well under its wings, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Lady Phoenix didn’t want to hold back during Thursday night’s game with NIU.

“If you’re really going to be that championship team, you’re going to respond on any night,” UW-GB’s women’s basketball head coach Carol Hammerle said.

However, UW-GB found itself down 34-24 at halftime in Chick Evans Field House. And at the halfway point of the second half, UW-GB lost its leading playmaker, starter Mariann Van Den Elzen, for the rest of the game due to a bum right heel.

But, the injury coincided with the Lady Phoenix‘ rise, as they outscored NIU 38-23 in the game’s final 11 minutes and won 75-66.

“It probably inspired them,” Hammerle said of the loss of Van Den Elzen. “When we came out in the second half, I thought we started doing things much better defensively in containing and controlling Northern on their offensive attack. But I did feel (the loss of Van Den Elzen) was kind of an extra surge of adrenaline.”

Though the game was the regular-season finale for both teams, NIU could play the 21-game winners again in the NSC tournament next week, which is being held at the fieldhouse.

“I think we can beat this team,” NIU forward Tracy Mondek said. “I don’t know why we don’t. I think our fouls, again, hurt us in the second half. I hope we do get to play them again.”

“I think we have more confidence after the game, knowing that we can play against them, then we did going into the game,” NIU guard Dee Dee Jeske said. “We always had confidence, but I think it’s just being that we had a 10-point lead and being that we played them as tough as we can, we can beat them.”