GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — After losing last season's leading scorer Sydney Levy to graduation, UW-Green Bay women's basketball team needed another reliable outside shooter.
Callie Genke has answered the call.
The former Freedom High School star is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range and has already made almost as many 3-pointers this season (17) as she did last season as a sophomore (24).
"It's something I really focused on this summer, to get shots up every day," Genke said. "(Levy) actually talked to me a lot and encouraged me to step up and she still does after every game. I kind of try to fill in her shoes."
Green Bay is off to an 8-3 start (1-0 in Horizon League play), and Genke's emergence has played a vital role.
"I told her to let it fly," Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth said. "That's what she did when she got all of her notoriety when she was a youngster and now she's starting to do some of that at our level right now."
She hasn't been shy about "letting it fly." Genke leads the Phoenix with 47 3-point attempts, more than four per contest. She's averaging 8.5 points per game, fourth-most on the team.
"She's certainly somebody that you have to guard but she's not just a 3-point shooter," he added. "She's pretty strong around the basket as well and has developed her game in a lot of areas but the 3-point shooting and the mentality is there and that's something that we need."
As the Phoenix get set to resume conference play, their leading man is coaching at less than 100 percent.
Longtime head coach Kevin Borseth had surgery on his hip last week, though he is still with the team and plans to coach the rest of the season.
"We just can't tackle him in practice," Genke laughed. "He's stepped out a little bit. Normally he's a little more active in the drills, but he's been great. He's been here every day since."
Borseth downplayed the surgery. He spent Green Bay's last game - against UW-Parkside on December 19 - sitting on a stool behind the bench.
"It'll be okay," Borseth said. "I just can't get bumped and get run over right now for the most part."
"I don't play, fortunately," he joked. "So that won't be a determining factor in the outcome of the games."
It's Borseth's second hip surgery, with the other coming a few years ago during the team's offseason.
DRAWING NATIONAL ATTENTION
Off to an 8-3 start, the Phoenix are receiving votes in this week's AP Top 25 poll. Green Bay tallied three votes and is one of only three schools from a non-major conference in the mix.
"That means something, it really does," Borseth said. "Not that that's what you're trying to accomplish, trying to be No. 1 in the country, but if you are there it means you are pretty good."
"If you are getting some looks for it obviously people have got respect for your program, so that's a good thing," he added. "But it's not something that you look for in the newspaper every time. I'd say it is what it is."
The Phoenix have beaten two ranked foes this season: No. 22 Creigton and No. 23 Washington State, both games in November. The Bluejays are currently ranked No. 21 with the Cougars now outside the Top 25 but still receiving votes.
TOUGH TEST AWAITS
Green Bay resumes conference play this weekend with an important game against rival Cleveland State. The Vikings are 11-2 so far this season. Cleveland State has knocked UWGB out of the Horizon League Tournament each of the past two seasons, denying the Phoenix a shot at an NCAA Tournament berth.
Tip-off for that game is 1:00 p.m. Saturday at the Kress Events Center and streaming on ESPN+.