Wisconsin-Green Bay faces Iowa St for big NCAA win

Mar 22, 2010 - 8:53 PM AMES, Iowa(AP) -- Wisconsin-Green Bay wants to go where only one No. 12 seed has gone before in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

Since the NCAA field expanded to 48 teams in 1989, San Francisco has been the only 12th-seeded team to reach the regional semifinals - and that was back in 1996. So here come the Phoenix (28-4), determined to duplicate that feat.

The opponent in Tuesday's second-round game is fourth-seeded Iowa State, a highly skilled team from the powerful Big 12 Conference. And the game is on ISU's home court, where the Cyclones (24-7) are 17-1 this season and 60-7 over the past four years.

But after knocking off fifth-seeded Virginia in the first round, Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Matt Bollant and his players figure they've got no reason to fear anyone.

"We're just going to compete on every single play," junior point guard Celeste Hoewisch said. "And we're going to play hard and fight you for everything. I really am confident in our team. We play with a lot of heart and we're going to be aggressive. Iowa State is going to have to understand that we're going to come here to compete."

That message hasn't been lost on Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly and his team, which routed Lehigh 79-42 in the opening round. Fennelly fully understands the mindset of a mid-major playing in the NCAA tournament because he coached at Toledo before moving to Ames.

"This is the time of year when they get extra attention," Fennelly said. "All during the year, they get attention in their league, but no one really talks about them until the NCAA tournament and that's why it's so special for those teams. When they get this opportunity, they usually don't take it very lightly. I think you saw that in Green Bay (Sunday) night, a team that was ready to go, excited to go, expected to be here and certainly played that way."

Wisconsin-Green Bay is the lowest seed still playing in the tournament and has never advanced beyond the second round in 10 previous appearances. To take that next step, the Phoenix will have to beat an opponent that plays nothing like the one they saw Sunday night.

Virginia relied on its speed and athleticism. Iowa State spreads the floor and counts on sharp passing to get the ball inside to its post players or to its shooters on the 3-point line. The Cyclones have made as many as 17 3-pointers in a game this season and lead the Big 12 and rank fourth nationally in 3-point shooting percentage.

"You let Iowa State run their sets and run their things and they're going to put a beating on most teams," Bollant said. "We've got to do a good job of disrupting things and still playing within our system, not letting them feel comfortable, not letting them get rhythm 3s.

"They got easy touches inside (Sunday) night, easy scores inside, and it's absolutely something we have to take away."

That brings up another challenge for the Phoenix: 6-foot-7 Anna Prins, the Cyclones' center. Prins had her way against Lehigh, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 27 minutes. She plays alongside 6-foot-2 Chelsea Poppens, who had 18 points and eight rebounds Sunday night, and Fennelly can bring 6-foot-1 Amanda Zimmerman off the bench.

Wisconsin-Green Bay's tallest starters are Kayla Tetschlag and Julie Wojta, both 6 feet.

"I think Julie and I have been undersized all season, so I think it's something we're used to," Tetschlag said. "We're usually facing 6-2, 6-3 or so against DePaul or Marquette, but yeah, we're up for the challenge.

"We need to try to be as physical as we can. And just like (Sunday) night, be the most aggressive team, get every loose ball. I think those things will make the difference."

Wisconsin-Green Bay benefited from its aggressive play against Virginia, getting to the free throw line 40 times and making 34, just enough to overcome its 30 turnovers in the 69-67 victory.

Iowa State, however, prides itself on playing solid position defense and avoiding fouls. And they have star Alison Lacey back after missing four games with pneumonia. She played 28 minutes against Virginia.

"I think I could go the whole game no matter what," she said. "I woke up a little sore today, kind of felt it more than I had. But I think getting after it today will be good for me and I think I'll be ready to go."

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