NORFOLK, Virginia (Ticker) -- Lucienne Berthieu played after all, which was good news for Old Dominion.
Berthieu returned from an eight-game absence due to a shoulder injury and scored 19 points off the bench as fourth-seeded Old Dominion fought off Wisconsin-Green Bay, 94-85, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Region.
Even without Berthieu, the Lady Monarchs (28-4) cruised to their ninth straight Colonial Athletic Association title. Tonight's win was their 14th in succession but did not come without some adversity.
"They were a scrappy, disciplined ballclub," Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry said. "They battled to the end. It wasn't easy." "I don't think many people gave us credit before the game," Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth said. "I am proud of their effort and in the same breath I want to credit ODU. They are a good basketball team." A free throw by Chandra Johnson, who scored 18 points, pulled 13th-seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay (21-9) into a 67-67 tie with 9:37 to play. Berthieu responded with three free throws and a layup before another layup by Natalie Diaz gave Old Dominion a 74-67 lead with 6:47 remaining.
Consecutive layups by Berthieu pushed the advantage to 10 points and the Lady Monarchs led by at least seven thereafter. They advance to face Southern Methodist, a surprise winner over North Carolina State on the other side of the subregional.
Hamchetou Maiga scored 24 points and Diaz added 17 for the Lady Monarchs, who shot 57 percent (35-of-61) from the field and held a 37-18 rebounding advantage. Berthieu, who shot 62 percent from the field during the season, made 7-of-9 shots and Maiga sank 10-of-12.
"It is nice to have Berthieu back as a target inside," Diaz said. "Her rebounding helped us. This was a good game for us. It was a good learning experience." Old Dominion could do nothing to cool off Green Bay, which came in having won 13 of 14 but fell to 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament. The Mid-Continent Conference tournament champions shot 59 percent (30-of-51), including 9-of-18 from 3-point range.
Trisha Ebel scored 19 points and Stacy Krueger added 13 for the Phoenix, which trailed 43-36 at halftime despite shooting 61 percent.
"It is crushing to lose to a tough team, especially when you are right there with them the whole game," Krueger said.
Old Dominion's Alli Spence, who collected 14 points and 10 assists, had a pair of 3-pointers in a 13-6 burst that snapped a tie and closed the first half.