- Northern Kentucky University’s Cassie Brannen is one of
the top freshmen in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, and she demonstrated
her ability to make big plays
in the clutch against Quincy on Saturday afternoon in the Pepsi
Brannen came off the bench and scored 15 points, including a key
basket and free throw in the final minute, as NKU extended its winning
streak to 12 games with a 73-70 victory over Quincy. Brannen, a
graduate of Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, also finished
with eight rebounds and three steals as NKU held off a late rally
by the Lady Hawks.
After Quincy cut NKU’s lead to 70-69 with 53 seconds left,
Brannen responded with a basket to push the Norse advantage to 72-69.
Deana McCormick made the first of two free throws with 17 seconds
left to cut the NKU lead to 72-70, and Brannen was fouled after
grabbing the rebound on McCormick’s miss on the second attempt.
She converted the first
free throw to give NKU a 73-70 lead but missed the second attempt,
and Quincy rebounded. Jenny Wisser attempted a 3-pointer with three
seconds remaining, but the shot was off target and rebounded by
Karyn Creager as the buzzer sounded.
“We made a lot of big plays at the end, and this was a great
game to win on the road,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said.
“Cassie Brannen stepped up and hit big shots. She also had
some big rebounds and defensive plays, but we had a lot of people
play well to win this game.”
Karmen Graham added 15 points for NKU, which improved to 18-3 overall,
11-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Nicole Chiodi scored
13 points and dished out four assists for the Norse, who shot 52.1
percent from the field and posted their first road win at Quincy
(15-6 overall, 9-4 GLVC) since Feb. 8, 2003.
Brittany Winner added eight points, four rebounds and two assists.
Creager finished with seven points and four rebounds, while Katie
Butler scored seven points off the bench.
“Brittany Winner did not have one of the biggest scoring
games, but her poise, ballhandling and decision-making were excellent,”
Winstel said. “Karyn Creager guarded (Shaquita Crawford),
a really quick point guard who wants to beat you off the dribble.
Karyn kept Crawford in front of her and did a really good job defensively.”
NKU built a 42-37 halftime lead by shooting 60 percent from the
field. Graham scored 15 points during the opening 20 minutes.
The Norse eventually took a 57-49 advantage with 9:54 remaining
when Winner scored while being fouled. She converted the free throw
to give NKU an eight-point lead.
Quincy rallied behind the play of McCormick, who scored 20 points
and was 7-for-9 from the field. McCormick scored seven straight
points to bring Quincy within 66-63 with 4:48 left in the game.
Chiodi answered with a basket to give NKU a 68-63 cushion, but
Crawford countered with a layup to cut the Norse lead to 68-65.
Brannen then hit a pair of free throws to extend NKU’s advantage
NKU’s 12-game winning streak is the longest since the 1999-2000
season, when the Norse won their final 24 games en route to the
NCAA Division II national championship.
NKU will play its final
two home games of the season this week, beginning with a 5:30 p.m.
Thursday contest against Indianapolis in Regents Hall. The Norse
are ranked No. 3 in the latest NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region