UW-Oshkosh opens its 2019-20 women's basketball season with an exhibition game tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 30) at perennial NCAA Division I postseason contender UW-Green Bay.
Tip-off for the clash between the Titans and Phoenix is scheduled for 7 p.m. in UW-Green Bay's Kress Center.
This will be the third exhibition game between Division III UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay. The Phoenix won the previous two meetings by scores of 61-34 on Nov. 6, 2014 and 79-35 on Oct. 29, 2016.
UW-Oshkosh is favored to win the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championship and UW-Green Bay the Horizon League title this season.
Last year UW-Oshkosh produced a 26-4 overall record and won its conference-leading 13th WIAC championship by two games with a 12-2 mark in league play. The Titans went on secure the WIAC postseason title before advancing to third round of the NCAA Division III Championship. UW-Oshkosh finished the year ranked 13th in the country by D3hoops.com.
UW-Oshkosh eighth-year head coach Brad Fischer welcomes back 12 letter winners from last year's team, including four players who started at least 10 games a year ago. Fischer's Titans have compiled a 165-37 record and at least 20 wins each of the past seven seasons. The program's .817 winning percentage during Fischer's tenure is the best of any women's or men's college basketball team in the state of Wisconsin since the 2012-13 campaign.
Senior guard Olivia Campbell headlines the returning Titans. Campbell, a two-time WIAC All-Defensive Team selection, garnered all-league honorable mention recognition last season after averaging 6.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
Junior guard Leah Porath, who averaged 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game a year ago, is the Titans' highest returning scorer from last year's balanced squad that did not feature a double-digit scorer.
Junior forward Nikki Arneson and junior center Karsyn Rueth are back for the Titans after averaging 6.7 and 5.7 points, respectively, and starting 10 games or more last season.
UW-Oshkosh also returns senior forward Emily Miller and sophomore guard Brooke Freitag, who both played more than seven minutes per game last year.
The Titans ranked ninth in the country by allowing 49.1 points per game last season and 10th by committing 12.7 turnovers per contest. UW-Oshkosh also led the WIAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16), field goal percentage (.431), scoring margin (+17.4), rebounding margin (+6.4) and made 3-pointers (199). The Titans' scoring defense was the fourth best in WIAC history while their 199 made 3-pointers set a program record.
UW-Green Bay compiled a 22-10 record last season and finished second in the Horizon League with a 15-3 mark. The Phoenix lost to Kent State University (Ohio), 64-59, in the first round of the WNIT.
UW-Green Bay secured its 42nd-consecutive winning season last year and trails only the University of Tennessee (45) for the longest active streak in the nation. During that span, UW-Green Bay also pieced together a stretch of 20-straight conference titles and made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances. The Phoenix also secured its 20th-consecutive 20-plus win season in 2018-19, a streak dating back to 1999-2000.
UW-Green Bay is led by the senior trio of Frankie Wurtz, Madison Wolf and Mackenzie Wolf. Wurtz was a First Team selection on this year's preseason All-Horizon League Team after leading the Phoenix in scoring last year with an average of 10.5 points per game.
A strong junior class of Lyndsey Robson, Meghan Pingel and Caitlyn Hibner provide experience to the UW-Green Bay lineup as well, with all seeing significant playing time as underclassmen. Redshirt sophomore Karly Murphy returns to the roster and is joined by Hailey Oskey who played a large role as a true freshman in 2018-19.
UW-Green Bay took to the floor for an exhibition game against Division II Michigan Tech last Thursday (Oct. 24) and the result was a 54-41 victory for the Phoenix. Murphy and Oskey led the Phoenix in scoring with 10 points apiece.
UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay were both members of the Wisconsin Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference during the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. The teams have played each other eight times during the regular season, with the last two meetings occurring as nonconference contests during the 1984-85 campaign. UW-Green Bay won the last four regular season matchups to even its all-time series with the Titans at 4-4.
Tonight's game marks the fifth exhibition contest for UW-Oshkosh against a Division 1 opponent. The Titans lost a 79-51 decision at the University of Wisconsin last November in Madison.
UW-Oshkosh opens its 2019-20 regular season against Saint Mary's University (Minn.) on Nov. 11 in Kolf Sports Center. The Titans open conference play at UW-La Crosse on Jan. 4.