OSHKOSH – The Wisconsin Glo is the Global Women’s Basketball Association champion.
The Glo beat the three-time reigning champion Flint Monarchs 80-78 at Menominee Nation Arena on Sunday.
“It’s amazing,” Glo head coach Dan Carey said. “An incredible game, big plays being made on both sides, and this was the goal coming in to run the table and win the championship and we did it. It was very gratifying. I’m so proud of these players. They made a tremendous commitment to this first-year organization with the Glo. I’m just humble to be a part of this and so grateful for these players.”
Wisconsin finished the season unbeaten with 14 wins in its inaugural season.
“To go undefeated in a regular season, of course, that’s a difficult thing so you have to have strong team chemistry and stick together through the ups and the downs and that’s what we did here today,” Taylor Wurtz said.
Jessica Lindstrom was named finals MVP as she finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds and three steals.
“I think you saw that when Jess got MVP, which is great, like very well-deserved, and she immediately turned around and did the selfless act, wants to give it to someone else,” Mehryn Kraker said. “I think that’s the epitome of this team, is just we want to share, we want everyone to be involved and everyone’s so talented that we do have the ability to involve everyone. It’s incredible playing with this level of talent and I think that we’re all excited and already looking forward to next year.”
The game came down to the second half as the Glo led 41-40 at halftime. After the teams were tied at 56 with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Glo went on a 7-2 run to close out the period.
“That was a big one,” Carey said. “When it gets down to that late, every possession is magnified and I think it’s really important championship teams finish quarters really well. I think it got our crowd into it. That was a great, kind of sneaky important part of the game.”
Wurtz scored five of Wisconsin’s seven points during the run, including a 3-pointer.
“We just got the momentum and we play really well together and share the ball,” Wurtz said. “We’ve been doing this all season where it’s come down the wire the last couple games against Flint, so we knew it was going to be a tough game and just keeping our composure and just getting the best look.”
Wisconsin got out to a 70-60 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Monarchs narrowed the gap to a point as the Glo led 76-75 with under a minute remaining. Wurtz made the following basket as she hit a 3-pointer to get the Glo ahead by four points with 28.6 seconds left.
“I knew the shot clock was winding down and it’s actually a shot that is one of my goes-to,” Wurtz said. “I’m really comfortable with the step-back so many times, it just came natural.”
“She’s a big-time player making big plays in big games,” Carey added. “We put her predominantly on Crystal Bradford, who’s a tremendous player, and Taylor battled her the whole game, stepped up and hit big shots, made big plays. She’s fearless, her motor never stops. She really stepped up.”
The Monarchs answered with a 3-pointer before the Glo made a free throw and Wurtz stole the ball to seal the game.
“I think you saw a bunch of us step up at the end and I think it’s just us being professional players, knowing that at any given time it’s our time to make a play,” Kraker said. “I had the steal, Tay hit a huge shot at the end, (Jolene Anderson) had a free throw so I think you saw each person come up big at the end. It’s cool to finish out the game that way.
“I don’t know if it’s necessarily our best game. It’s not our prettiest, but it’s our toughest I think we played. That’s a tough game, tough environment, it’s a tough team and honestly to come out no matter how big the margin of victory, we played tough at the end and I think that’s what showed today.”
Wurtz led the Glo with 18 points, while Sam Logic had eight points, eight boards and a team-record 11 assists.
“I think my teammates just did a great job of finding me and I just attacked when I saw gap and stuff and the ball happened to go in, but definitely my teammates found me and then coach ran up a couple of plays that really got me going,” Wurtz said.
In the first quarter, after the score was tied at 11 with nearly 2:30 left, the Glo went on an 8-4 run to close out the period. Steph Kostowicz put up seven points during the run.
The Glo reached its largest lead of the game at 12 points as it got ahead 33-21 in the second quarter.
“We started to string stops together,” Carey said. “For a while in the first quarter, we were just trading baskets with them. Once we started to get some stops, that enabled us to stretch the lead out a little bit.”
The Glo beat the Monarchs four times during the regular season, which included a 101-91 victory in the final game of regular season.
It was a memorable season for the players, the majority of whom attended college in Wisconsin.
“There’s a lot of girls on this team that I’ve looked up to for a lot of years,” Lindstrom said. “They’re older than me and then I got the chance to actually play with them. I don’t think I ever thought I would get the chance of that, so I’m just very fortunate to be a part of something so cool. I know a lot of those girls that are more veteran than me have had a lot of games like that. I think we all calmed our nerves down. Taylor Wurtz had some big plays at the end, a big three and a big stop so kudos to her and all the veterans that showed out in that game.”
Added Kraker: “We were rivals in college, we were rivals in high school and elementary school, and now we’re planning to visit each other in Europe and we’re involved in each other’s lives and families. All of a sudden you have all these other friendships that are really special to you because you’re all at the same level, you understand each other and that’s honestly been the coolest part of it. The championship is just icing on the cake.”
Contact Jordan Jacobson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jordanjacob91.