GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The way things started for Julie Wojta and Wisconsin-Green Bay, it was hard to fathom anyone would be talking about a career-best performance.
As it turned out, Wojta and the Phoenix quickly turned things around to stay unbeaten.
The senior forward scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Phoenix (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) to a gritty 75-67 win over Northern Iowa on Sunday.
She scored 16 of her points in the first half as Green Bay (7-0) bounced back from a sluggish start in which the Panthers jumped out to a 13-0 lead.
"What's amazing is I thought she wasn't ready to play," said Green Bay coach Matt Bollant. "At the start of the game she looked a little flat and the first four minutes I was disappointed in her. And then at halftime she has 16 points and nine rebounds, so it's amazing how that girl can turn it on and make some plays."
Green Bay had survived seemingly the toughest part of its schedule with wins over Illinois, Georgia Tech and Marquette.
But this was a scrappy Northern Iowa team coming off a Missouri Valley Conference title last season that nearly ended up facing the Phoenix in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
So, while others may have looked past the Panthers, Bollant was relieved to escape with a win -- especially considering his team's early struggles.
"I think Northern Iowa's better than Marquette. I think they're more dangerous, I think they're better than Illinois and they might not be quite Georgia Tech but them and Toledo are two of the best teams we've played," Bollant said. "You could see we didn't have the adrenaline going, didn't have the edge. So we'll learn from that and hopefully not have that mentality because that will keep us from being the team we want to be in March."
After their hot start the Panthers struggled, falling behind 42-28 at the half. They battled back in the second half, cutting the gap to 64-59 with only 3:56 left, but the Phoenix responded with eight straight points to put the game away.
Katelin Oney had a stellar outing for the Panthers with 25 points. K.K. Armstrong added 14 points for the Panthers (5-2).
Lydia Bauer scored 19 points and Megan Lukan added 13 off the bench for the Phoenix.
Green Bay has won 27 straight regular season games.
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