GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Phoenix clinched a berth in the women's NCAA tournament by defeating Loyola 54-38 in the Horizon League tournament final.
It was a perfect ending for the hometown girl. Adrian Ritchie stepped up and hit the final shot she'll take in a game at the Kress Events Center, just seconds later Kevin Borseth called timeout and removed his five seniors to a standing ovation.
"To picture yourself doing it all season and then to have that come true it's a lot of fun," Ritchie said.
Borseth added, "It's good to be along for the ride. It's a special group of kids."
Borseth heaped praise upon the group he inherited when he retook the reigns of the Phoenix prior to the season. He said he often found himself marveling at their understanding of the game.
"It's fortunate that those players are really savvy enough, talented enough, smart enough with the game that I could just inject some of my ideas and they could run with the rest of them," Borseth said.
The win was the 24 th straight for the Phoenix. While the game was rarely in doubt, senior Adrian Ritchie, did feel there was some tension going in. "That little bit of the pressure's off but we're still looking forward to wherever we're going to go and we feel our experience is going to help us," Ritchie said.
Their spot in the tournament is secure, their seed and destination for the opening weekend of play are still up in the air. After dealing with the disappointment after seeing their seeding in the past the Phoenix have decided to just enjoy the win and see what happens. Sarah Eichler said she it was a waste of time to worry about seeding when it's out of their control and in the end seeds won't matter.
"We know once we go out on the floor those numbers in front of our name mean nothing and we're just playing the game of basketball and it's the best team that's going to win whether you're a number one seed or a number seven seed," Eichler said.
Kevin Borseth seconded his player's opinion. "Whatever it is we gotta take it and go. We gotta get on the court. We've gotta play. We gotta prep and go lace them up," Borseth said.
For her part, Adrian Ritchie is just happy to have more time left in her college career. "We're lucky to have another week to practice at least. You know a lot of teams are already at home," Richie said. "We're going to use it to our advantage and not take it for granted and just see where we can go."
The NCAA women's tournament selection show is set for 6 p.m. Monday.
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