GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — For Wright State to reach the NCAA women's tournament for the first time, the Raiders had to accomplish another first for the program.
Thanks to a resurgent second half by conference player of the year Kim Demmings, they did both.
Demmings shook off a foul-plagued first half and scored 22 of her 26 points after the break, helping Wright State rally for an 88-69 victory over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Sunday in the championship game of the Horizon League women's tournament.
Demmings, limited to just nine minutes in the first half with three fouls, hit five 3-pointers in the second half as the Raiders overcame a 10-point deficit against the Phoenix, who were 27-0 at home against Wright State.
"It feels good, it's obviously a feeling we've never had, so I don't know how the ride back's going to after a win," said Wright State coach Mike Bradbury. "Probably better than the loss."
Tay'ler Mingo had 31 points, including eight in the final 1:36, for Wright State (26-8). The Raiders avenged a pair of close conference losses to Green Bay, which has won 16 consecutive Horizon League regular-season titles.
Mehryn Kraker had 19 points and Breannah Ranger 16 for the Phoenix (22-9), whose 24 turnovers were converted into 33 points by the Raiders.
"I don't know whether we turned it over - which we did quite a bit - whether we missed shots, I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it happened and it happened in a hurry," Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth said. "The key was to really remain composed. I don't know what happened in that stretch where, well, they scored a lot and we didn't."
Green Bay scored the first four points of the second half to open a 46-36 lead, but Demmings scored 11 points, hitting three 3-pointers, to fuel a 13-1 run that put the Raiders up 49-47.
Tesha Buck's layup brought the Phoenix within 63-61 with 9:35 left, but Demmings' 3-pointer from the left wing capped a 9-2 run that put the Raiders up 72-63 with 6:46 remaining.