No. 10 Green Bay women advance to Horizon final

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- When tournament time comes around, it's Sarah Eichler's time to shine.

The junior forward, who came in averaging 9.4 points, matched her career best with 19 to help No. 10 Wisconsin-Green Bay reach the championship game of the Horizon League tournament with a 73-53 win over Illinois-Chicago on Friday night.

Eichler scored 14 points in Wednesday night's quarterfinal win over Valparaiso and averaged 12 points in last year's league tournament.

"It's March Madness," Eichler said. "They call it that for a reason."

Green Bay coach Matt Bollant was impressed with Eichler once again coming through in a postseason game.

"The kid has courage," Bollant said. "Kids that have courage, they step up when it matters."

Adrian Ritchie scored 22 points and Julie Wojta, the Horizon player of the year, had 13 points and 10 rebounds for her 33rd career double-double -- a school record since the Phoenix joined Division I in 1987.

"I think a lot of offensive success comes from her," Green Bay guard Adrian Ritchie said of Wojta. "Even if she's not scoring the points, she's pulling three people toward her. They're so scared she's going to score, it opens up so many lanes for everyone else."

Green Bay (29-1) won its ninth straight and improved to 15-1 at home this season.

Jasmine Bailey scored 23 points for Illinois-Chicago (18-13).

Top-seeded Green Bay will face No. 2 seed Detroit in Sunday's title game. Detroit handed Green Bay its only loss of the season a month ago.

"We're excited for Sunday, definitely, to get revenge in our house again," Ritchie said. "We just want to show them who is the top team in this league."

It was a game of runs in the first half.

After UIC tied the game 4-all, Green Bay went on a 12-1 run to take a 16-5 lead. The Phoenix went ahead 27-11, but the Flames broke off a 15-5 run to cut the deficit to 32-26.

The Flames had a shot to go into the locker room down just five, but Shamiea Green missed a 3-point attempt with 11 seconds remaining in the opening half.

"We all feel like this is one of our best defensive performances," Ritchie said. "We adjusted to what we were playing against, and I think that's a good sign for us coming down the stretch."

The Phoenix, who led 36-28 at halftime, dominated in the paint in the opening half, scoring 20 points.

"That was our game plan, make them shoot contested outside shots and not allow them to score easy in the paint," UIC coach Regina Miller said. "Forty-two points out of 73 (in the paint), I don't need to say much more."

The Phoenix pushed their lead to 15 in the second half, hitting eight of their first 10 shots from the field. UIC clawed back within 12 midway through the half, but Megan Lukan hit a 3-pointer to give the Phoenix a 58-43 lead.

After shooting 43.3 percent (13 for 30) from the field in the first half, Green Bay went 15 of 25 (60 percent) in the second.