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NKU ROLLS PAST W. VA. WESLEYAN, 68-48 - Dec. 19, 2005
Graham scores career-high 31 points in Sunday Challenger Classic

Karmen Graham scored 31 points

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - She wasn’t quite perfect Monday night, but Northern Kentucky University’s Karmen Graham was close.

Graham scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds as NKU posted a 68-48 win over West Virginia Wesleyan in first round of the Sunday Challenger Classic in Regents Hall. Graham, a 6-foot-1 junior post player, made her first nine shots and finished 12-for-13 from the field.

“I didn’t even know I did that well from the floor, actually, until someone said something in the locker room,” said Graham, whose previous career high was 28 points against Wayne (Mich.) State on Dec. 29, 2003. “It was exciting.”

Graham dominated the inside, and when she wasn’t scoring, she was usually drawing fouls. In fact, Graham attempted 12 free throws and converted seven of those tosses.

Her 31 points were five shy of tying the NKU record of 36, scored by Peggy Vincent on March 11, 1977.

NKU improved to 6-2 and will meet Hillsdale (Mich.) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the final game of the round-robin event. Hillsdale is 9-2 after defeating Virginia Union, 71-55, in the opening game Monday.

Graham scored 17 points and made all eight of her shots from the field in the first half as NKU built a 35-20 lead. The Norse shot 50 percent (15-for-30) from the field in the first half and had 12 assists.

NKU finished with 17 assists, which pleased head coach Nancy Winstel.

“It’s nice to see us pass the ball because we had five (assists) against Saint Joseph’s and 10 against Indianapolis,” Winstel said. “I think when you want to see how well your team is moving the ball, you look at assists. I didn’t know we had 17, so I was glad to see that.

Brittany Winner attempts a 3-pointer

“I thought we probably should have had 25, but I guess as a coach you are never satisfied, and tonight was one of those games.”

Brittany Winner and Nicole Chiodi each dished out five assists to lead NKU. Cassie Brannen finished with three assists for the Norse, who held West Virginia Wesleyan (1-6) to just 31.8 percent shooting from the field.

Karyn Creager added eight points for NKU, while Winner scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds. Karen Brackman came off the bench and added six points for the Norse, who placed just one player (Graham ) in double figures.

“She played great. We need that from her,” Winstel said of Graham. “She’s a leader, and she’s had such a solid career. She leads by example in the ways she just goes about doing her business.

“It was hard to take her out because she was playing so well. It couldn’t happen to a better kid. She’s worked so hard, and she wants to do well so badly.”

Sarah Grab scored 14 points to lead West Virginia Wesleyan. NKU won the rebounding battle by a 38-29 margin and forced 22 turnovers by the Bobcats. Monday’s game marked the first meeting between NKU and West Virginia Wesleyan in women’s basketball.


Sunday Challenger Classic

Mon., Dec. 19
Hillsdale 71, Virginia Union 55
NKU 68, West Virginia Wesleyan 48

Tues., Dec. 20
Virginia Union vs. West Virginia Wesleyan, 5:30 p.m.
Hillsdale vs. NKU, 7:30 p.m.