scored 12 points Saturday
Ky. - Two months ago, Northern Kentucky University suffered a 50-47
loss at Saint Joseph’s and looked like anything but an NCAA
dreary December evening in Rensselaer, Ind., however, fortunes have
changed for NKU. The Norse are currently one of the hottest teams
in the nation and playing themselves into a high seed in the upcoming
NCAA Division II Tournament.
to its 14th consecutive victory with a 76-51 rout of Saint Joseph’s
in Regents Hall on Saturday afternoon. The Norse placed 11 players
in the scoring column, shot 50.8 percent from the field and forcefully
avenged the early-season loss to the Pumas.
hoping being the last home game of the year, and the fact that we
got beat at Saint Joseph’s, that we’d be ready, but
you never know,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “I
thought that our defensive intensity throughout the game was very
“(The loss to
Saint Joseph’s) was early in the season. We were very young
and not very poised,” she added. “I think what’s
happening with our team right now is that we have learned our system.
The players know their roles and our talent is starting to show.”
NKU improved to 20-3
overall, 13-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Norse, ranked
24th nationally in the NCAA Division II poll, used a 20-4 run in
the first half to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 24-10 lead with 7:17
left before intermission.
Karyn Creager sparked
the run with a pair of 3-pointers. Brittany Winner, Nicole Chiodi
and Cassie Brannen each added four points during the spurt. By halftime,
NKU owned a 37-19 lead.
When the two teams met
in December, Saint Joseph’s took a 29-27 lead at the break.
drives against SJC
“I think the biggest
difference is just how much we’ve developed as a team from
December,” said NKU junior forward Karmen Graham, who finished
with 11 points and four rebounds. “We’re so much more
used to running our stuff and playing together as a team. I think
that was the difference. We’re just much more comfortable.”
NKU led by as many as
33 points in the second half and cruised to the win. Katie Butler
scored all 10 of her points in the second half as the Norse shot
58.6 percent from the field during the final 20 minutes.
Chiodi led NKU with
12 points and six rebounds. Winner added 10 points and three rebounds
for the Norse, who finished with a 41-29 advantage on the glass.
“We were just
being really aggressive and active on the boards,” Winner
Ashley Hughes led Saint
Joseph’s (13-10, 6-9 GLVC) with 15 points. The Pumas - who
have lost 13 straight times in Regents Hall - shot just 35.2 percent
from the field and were 3-for-13 from 3-point range.
Brannen and Karen Brackman
each scored seven points off the bench for NKU, which leads the
GLVC East Division by one game over Lewis. The Norse also had just
nine turnovers, which pleased Winstel.
“We had four (turnovers)
in the first half, and then we were able to sub in a lot of players
and were still able to take care of the ball against a very quick
and very aggressive team,” said Winstel, who picked up her
492nd victory at NKU. “I just think that today was our day,
and we played very well.
be happier for them because they’re just a good bunch of kids.
They work very hard. I’ve pushed them this year, and I’ve
been tough on them. They’ve responded, so good for them.”
NKU, which reached the
20-win mark for the first time since the 2002-03 season, is ranked
third in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region poll. The Norse
will play a key road game at Bellarmine at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday in