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Green Bay reaches new heights with season-defining win, surprise finish in Greater Victoria Invitational

The Green Bay Phoenix sank the ranked Syracuse Orange and played impressively throughout the tournament, earning the respect of the big guys.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 15 Women’s - Green Bay at Wisconsin
Caitlyn Hibner led the Green Bay Phoenix with 30 points in a win over Syracuse.
Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stanford may have won the Greater Victoria Invitational this past weekend but it was the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay that made the biggest impression, with their third-place finish in the tournament.

The Green Bay Phoenix earned their 11th program victory over a ranked opponent with a 79-73 win in overtime over then-No. 18 Syracuse Orange. Green Bay led throughout the majority of the game but Syracuse took the lead late, and lead by four points with 10 seconds left in the final quarter. A three-point play for the Phoenix followed by a pair of made buckets for the Orange set up an improbable 3-pointer by junior Lyndsey Robson to extend the game into overtime. Robson finished with 13 points, shooting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Caitlyn Hibner, after scoring a combined 16 points in the Phoenix’s first two games, scored a career-high 30 points against the Orange. Hibner’s performance earned her her second Horizon League Player of the Week award this season.

Green Bay’s first victory came against seventh-place finisher Bowling Green. Green Bay played Mississippi State toe-to-toe in the first half, trailing 38-36 after the first half. The Bulldogs would outscore the Phoenix 45-22 en route to their 83-58 victory.

Syracuse’s lone win of the tournament came against Houston, 87-62. Kiara Lewis, the Orange’s leading scorer, averaged 17 points in three games. Emily Engstler registered her third and fourth double-doubles of the season, scoring 14 points and recording 15 rebounds against Houston and 12 points and 16 rebounds against Green Bay.

Breaking down the rest of the tournament

Stanford beat Mississippi State in the tournament final, but it was a narrow 83-78 victory over California Baptist that kicked off the Cardinal’s visit to British Columbia. Stanford rebounded with an easy win over Syracuse. For the tournament, freshman Haley Jones averaged a team-high 13.3 points on 55 percent shooting — enough to earn her Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors.

Mississippi State faced little competition prior to its loss to Stanford. The Bulldogs defeated opponents by an average of 30 points, with Jordan Danberry scoring 17 points and 21 points, respectively. Danberry struggled in the finale, though, scoring just seven points.

San Francisco suffered an opening-round loss at the hands of Mississippi State 73-38 but won their next two games over Bowling Green and Houston, improving to 4-4 on the year and finishing fourth in the tournament. Junior Lucie Hoskova, out of Czech Republic, averaged 14.6 points for the tournament.

Houston was no match for Syracuse but rebounded against California Baptist, 96-75, for the Cougars’ lone win of the weekend. Scoring balance — with Jul Blackshell-Fair, Dymond Gladney, and Dorian Branch each averaging over 13 points through three games — is the reason for Houston’s success.

Bowling Green’s lone victory was over California Baptist, 98-60. Junior center Angela Perry was a dominant force, scoring a career-high 36 points in 29 minutes on 16-of-22 shooting. Perry had scored a combined ten points in the previous two games. The win prevented Bowling Green from finishing last — an honor reserved for California Baptist.

California Baptist entered Thanksgiving weekend 7-0 but came away empty-handed in three attempts. Sydney Palma averaged 11.3 points while Georgia Dale and Tiena Afu each averaged 10.6 points for the tournament.