- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2011

GREEN BAY, WIS. (AP) - Kayla Tetschlag swished jump shot after jump shot before practice over a teammate with a little extra something.

Tetschlag was forced to hit her baskets over 6-foot-2 Katie Bushman, who was playing defense with a foot-long green piece of foam extending from her outstretched arm.

That is one of the ways Wisconsin-Green Bay is getting ready for Baylor and 6-foot-8 sophomore shot-blocking sensation Brittney Griner.

“I think it will be a shock once we see her but we’ll get over it,” Green Bay guard Celeste Hoewisch said Friday, a few hours before the fifth-seeded Phoenix left for Dallas to face top-seeded Baylor in an NCAA regional semifinal Sunday night.

“You’ve got to respect that she’s a great player but you can’t change what got you here,” she said. “You do a few different things. You try to pull her away from the basket as much as you can, but we still have to be aggressive. You have to go at her a little bit.”

That’s been the plan of attack for most of the Bears’ opponents this season, though it’s seldom worked. Including an eight-block game against West Virginia in the second round, Griner has blocked at least eight shots in 24 career games. In seven career NCAA tournament games, she has blocked 54 shots.

With her as an anchor, Baylor (33-2) ranks second in the NCAA in field-goal percentage allowed (32 percent).

Green Bay (34-1), with an experienced roster of players as adept at scoring outside as inside, thinks it at least has a chance. The 6-foot Tetschlag averages a team-high 13.9 points, followed by fellow 6-footer Julie Wojta (13.8) and the 5-foot-7 Hoewisch (13.4).

Tetschlag and Wojta are the tallest players among those averaging at least 10 minutes, and they’ll share time defensively against Griner, who averages 22.6 points and has reached double figures in all 35 games.

“We do what we do,” coach Matt Bollant said. “We’ve got to have a balance. We’re not going to be able to go inside, like we have throughout the year, but we don’t want to just shoot 3s, either. We have to have a balance and mix things up and make her have to guard on the perimeter and see if we can get some other kids inside.”

While Green Bay is an obvious underdog against what Bollant calls the best team and best player in the country, the players aren’t the least bit uptight. Green Bay, a perennial mid-major powerhouse, has won 25 consecutive games since losing 63-60 at Marquette on Dec. 12.

The Phoenix are in the final 16 for the first time after reaching the second round under former coach Kevin Borseth in 2006-07 and again last season under Bollant.

“This group is having fun right now,” Tetschlag said. “I think we’re focused but at the same time we have so much fun together. We just seem really loose and ready to go.”

Even in the biggest game in program history?

“That’s not our team,” Bollant said about being nervous. “They believe in each other. They love each other and love being around each other. The whole time down in Wichita (for the first two rounds), they didn’t look tight at all. We’re just trying to enjoy the moment, enjoy the journey. We’ve talked a lot about that.

“It’s going to be a difficult task, but if we can neutralize their athleticism and not get dominated on the boards and let them get up and down the court, then we’ve got a shot.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide