March 18, 2007
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Wisconsin-Green Bay isn't focused on its long winning streak. The Phoenix are just worried about winning the next game.
Nicole Soulis scored 15 points and the ninth-seeded Phoenix opened the second half with a 20-5 run to extend their winning streak to 26 games with a 59-52 victory over No. 8 New Mexico on Sunday night in the first round of the Fresno Regional.
"While we're playing we don't think about it," said Amanda Popp, who added 14 points on her 22nd birthday. "We take it one game at a time trying to get the next one."
The streak is the second longest in the nation, trailing only Middle Tennessee State, which won its 27th consecutive game with a 85-46 victory over Gonzaga on Saturday.
Leading 29-26 at the break, New Mexico (24-9) scored the first basket of the second half. Wisconsin-Green Bay then ran off the next 11 points to take a 37-31 lead on Natalie Berglin's layup.
"We kNEW we had to get defensive stops," Soulis said. "We wanted to make sure they didn't pull away and we could stay with them."
The Phoenix (29-3) extended the lead to 46-34 on Soulis' baseline floater midway through the second half. Soulis and Popp each scored eight points during the decisive run. Berglin finished with 11 points.
"We're extremely thrilled to win," coach Kevin Borseth said. "It was a hard fought game between two good teams."
New Mexico was able to get within 53-46 on Katie Montgomery's 3-pointer with 4:59 left, but could get no closer.
"Somehow early in the second half we didn't play with enough intensity and effort," New Mexico coach Dan Flanagan said.
Wisconsin-Green Bay will face either Connecticut or UMBC on Tuesday night.
"We need to credit their defense, they were outworking us," Briody said.
Wisconsin-Green Bay last lost on Nov. 29 to DePaul and went a perfect 16-0 in the Horizon league before running through the conference tournament. The Phoenix also beat Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin - the only non-conference team to win three games against the Big Ten this season.
Wisconsin-Green Bay didn't make the NCAA tournament last season after losing in the semifinals of the Horizon tournament, snapping a run of four straight NCAA appearances. The Phoenix's last NCAA victory came in 2003 when they beat Washington 78-65.
The Lobos had won four straight and 12 of their last 13 games.
The Phoenix jumped out to a quick 13-4 lead, but the Lobos rallied, going on a 12-3 run to tie the game at 16. Wisconsin-Green Bay went cold from the field only hitting three baskets the rest of the half and trailed 29-26 at the break.