(ST. LOUIS, MO) In order for the Wisconsin GLO to claim back-to-back national championships at the Global Women’s Basketball Association (GWBA) finale Sunday against the St. Louis Surge, they capitalized on both second-half momentum and a MVP-winning performance from the bench.
Propelled by a 31-15 output in the third quarter and a 26-point effort by guard Kelly Moten, the GLO netted a 93-77 trophy triumph over the Surge at Fontbonne University’s Mabee Gymnasium.
The GLO, seeded second in the four-team GWBA tourney, trailed by two points at halftime, but overpowered the top-seeded Surge and outscored the host team 51-33 in the second half to claim the title and finish the season 8-2.
The Surge (9-1) ends their season with their highest finish to date in GWBA post-season play.
First half scoring was basically even as both squads rallied in stretches. Up 8-7 three minutes in, the Surge claimed six straight points, punctuated by Alisia Jenkins’ layup at the 4:40 mark that widened St. Louis’ lead to 14-7.
The GLO recovered for a 11-4 sprint in the remaining minutes of the frame. Moten paced the rally with seven points, including a trey netted with forty seconds left that tied the score 18-18.
The second quarter saw the Surge utilize their strength at bench as guard Erin Bollmann rivaled Moten’s output as her eight-point performance in the frame’s first five was highlighted by her three-pointer collected with 5:00 left in the half, resulting in St. Louis’ 28-25 lead.
Not surprising to Sunday’s script, Moten responded with a bucket and a converted free throw off a foul that tied the score 28-28 with 4:31 left.
Surge veteran Brittany Carter broke the deadlock on the next possession with a three-pointer that handed the top-seed a 31-28 lead with 4:12 remaining.
As the quarter progressed, both Bollmann and Jenkins remained focal points of the St. Louis offense and pushed the team’s lead to 44-38 following Bollman’s reverse lay-up with :40 left.
The GLO claimed four straight down the stretch and with Moten’s buzzer-beater bucket off a Surge turnover, Wisconsin trailed by two at intermission, 44-42.
Second half play saw the GLO collect a lead change thanks to Taylor Wurtz’s three-pointer that resulted in a 49-46 scoreboard flip. The Surge’s Kelsey McClure claimed a bucket on the next possession to make the game a solo point affair, 49-48, but then Wurtz added another bucket two minutes deep that pushed the GLO’s lead to 51-48.
A topsy-turvy series then ensued. Carter collected her second three-pointer of the afternoon that tied the score 51-51. The GLO’s Sam Logic responded with a trey at the 7:20 mark that pushed the game to 54-51 and then Surge forward Rebecca Harris snared a three-pointer with 7:00 left the resulted in the game’s seventh tie of the afternoon, 54-54.
This moment marked the closest the Surge would be in their attempt of a first-time GWBA title and third national championship overall. Fresh from a time out, the GLO resettled and simply found their moment to shine and dominate play on the court.
Wisconsin began with six straight, punctuated by Jessica Lindstrom’s three-pointer with 5:05 left that pushed the GLO’s lead to 60-54.
As the quarter progressed, the GLO widened the advantage with Moten’s continuous stellar play. Her lay-up with :50 remaining pushed the differential to double-digits, 69-59.
Moten’s bucket with five seconds left concluded the GLO’s 31-15 output for the frame as Wisconsin controlled their destiny with a 73-59 lead heading into the final quarter.
Any potential Surge comeback was immediately stifled as Moten’s three-pointer twenty seconds in pushed the GLO’s lead to 76-59. Wisconsin’s widened the mark to 83-61 with 6:45 remaining following Julie Wojta’s bucket.
The Surge chipped away at the differential with three-pointers made by McClure, Harris and Bollman but the deficit was too hefty to overtake.
The GLO outscored the Surge 20-18 in the final quarter to claim the 93-77 GWBA title victory. Moten’s trio of three-pointers and 26 points scored overall paced the team and for the effort was awarded Most Valuable Player as the GLO celebrated their second national championship.
Jenkins led the Surge with 19 points, followed by 17 apiece by Bollmann and Harris. St. Louis Coach Duez Henderson was awarded GWBA Coach of the Year honors in the post-tournament ceremony.