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Lady Trojans head to Wichita

Submitted by Tony Lenahan on March 18, 2011 – 1:00 pmOne Comment

Photo by Matt Johnson

On Monday, March 14, the Lady Trojans had a watch party in the Legends Room at the Jack Stephens Center and found out they will be playing the 32-1 Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix on Sunday, March 20, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Wichita, Kan.

“I’m just excited that we do have a spot in the tournament and now we know who we’re playing,” junior forward Marian Kursh said. “I’m happy that we’re getting another opportunity, another shot to go as far as we can. I know we’re going to go out there and play hard.”

The Trojans defeated Western Kentucky 66-59 in the Sun Belt Conference Championship game to get the automatic bid to the “big dance” and will be the No. 12-seed. The Phoenix will have the No. 5-seed and won 74-63 against Butler in the Horizon League Tournament to get the automatic bid.

UALR went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history last year as a No. 11-seed and defeated No. 6-seed Georgia Tech 63-53 before losing to Oklahoma in the second round.

“It’s extremely exciting,” director of women’s basketball operations Rebecca Chilton Peoples said. “I’m most excited for our three seniors. This team has worked so hard to get where they are. As well as they are playing, they’re about to make a run.”

The Trojans won’t have an easy task against Wisconsin-Green Bay as the Phoenix are ranked 13th in the nation and its only loss came to NCAA Tournament team Marquette. The Phoenix have an ratings percentage index of 20, opposed to the Trojans’ RPI of 46. RPI is used to rank teams according to their strength of schedule and their won-loss records. The lower the RPI, the better.

Green Bay is top-10 in the nation in six categories. The Phoenix are second in assists-per-game, fourth in assist/turnover ratio, sixth in scoring margin, seventh in scoring defense, ninth in 3-point-field-goal percentage and ninth in steals-per-game. The Trojans are fourth in the nation in 3-point-field-goal percentage and eighth in scoring defense, so there is a good possibility that Sunday’s game may be a low-scoring affair.

Junior forward Julie Wojta and senior forward Kayla Tetschlag each average 13.7 points-per-game to lead the Phoenix, while senior guard Celeste Hoewisch scores 13.6 points-per-game. Wojta leads the team in rebounds (7.7) and assists (3.7) as well.

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