Senior Julie Wojta and the Phoenix backed up their coach on Friday night, with the preseason All-Horizon League selection scoring 15 of her career-high 29 points in the second half to help No.18 Green Bay pull out a 65-49 victory over Wisconsin at the Kohl Center.
"Our team goes off the open player," Wojta said. "It's fun to be on a team like that. We're passing it around and taking whatever the defense gives us."
After Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez hired former Stanford assistant Bobbie Kelsey, Bollant not only said he was relieved he wasn't hired, but told his players that Green Bay was a "way better program." They didn't look like it in the first half, being out rebounded 14-12 and making no 3-pointers to trail 34-28 at the half.
"We were a little tight in the first half," Bollant said. "Give Wisconsin credit. They came out early and were the most aggressive team in the first half. No question about it. They were physical and got into us."
Slowly but surely, though, Green Bay (10-0) started to wear down the young Badgers (4-8) in the second half. In a 4:51 stretch, Green Bay's pressure forced Wisconsin into six of its 25 turnovers and went on a 13-2 run to take a 53-43 lead.
Green Bay never trailed following the run, shooting 60 percent after halftime and scoring 31 points off Badgers miscues to extend its regular-season winning streak to 30 games. .
"Teams are going to play with us for a while, but it's hard to play for 40 minutes because of the way we practice and how intense our kids are," Bollant said, "I thought that showed in the second half."
Junior Taylor Wurtz led the Badgers with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, as Wisconsin shot 46.4 percent in the first half. It was different in the second with the Badgers making only five buckets while committing 15 turnovers.
"I have to hit my open shots," Wurtz said, "We had to come out in the second half like we did in the first half and just play with that type of intensity."
Kelsey helped the Cardinal to three Final Four appearances in five years and was a member of the 1992 national championship team, but is still searching for her first signature win at Wisconsin, which couldn't close out the Phoenix after being outscored 21-6 in the final 10 minutes.
"We executed our offense, hit some shots, played defense with a NCAA tournament-experienced team," Kelsey said. "I thought our kids didn't back down, ready to play, weren't intimidated by them at all . but the game is 40 minutes, not 25."