attempts a jumper
Ky. - As a result of the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s expansion
to 14 schools, basketball was split into divisional play this season.
University and Lewis, two of the top women’s basketball programs
in the league, both ended up in the GLVC East as part of a seven-team
divisional alignment. That makes each game between the two schools
even more meaningful, especially if first place in the GLVC East
is at stake.
That is exactly
what was on the line Thursday night when Lewis visited Regents Hall.
The Flyers entered the game in sole possession of first place in
the GLVC East with a 6-1 conference record, one-half game ahead
But after posting
a 62-51 victory over Lewis, NKU is now alone in first place in the
GLVC East with a 7-2 mark. The Norse (13-3 overall) have also won
seven consecutive games at a most opportune time.
beat a good team at home, and it was something that we needed to
show that we could do because we’ve been getting better,”
NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “Our kids played well.
I thought in the first half, in some ways, we were unstoppable.
Then, once again, we stopped executing.”
and Angela Healy each scored 12 points to lead NKU, which held its
opponent under 60 points for the 16th consecutive game. The Norse
limited Lewis (10-6 overall, 6-2 GLVC) to 36.7 percent shooting
from the field and finished with a 37-30 edge in rebounding.
NKU built a
15-point lead in the first half behind the play of Graham, Cassie
Brannen and Betsey Clark. Brannen came off the bench to score six
points and haul in six rebounds before halftime. Clark added five
points in a reserve role in the first half.
Graham looks for an opening
was a time there that I thought we were going to take it to them,”
Winstel said of the 15-point lead. “I don’t know if
we just got tired, but it’s hard to keep that intensity for
an entire game. We knew that they were going to come running back.”
Graham - who
extended her streak of scoring in double figures to 10 consecutive
games - hit a basket with 2:17 left before the half to give NKU
a 37-22 lead. Lewis scored the final three points of the half to
trail 37-25 at the break.
away at the Norse lead in the second half and pulled within four
points (53-49) with 1:52 left on a basket by Darcee Schmidt. NKU,
however, sealed the victory by sinking nine of its final 10 attempts
from the free-throw line.
The Norse were
15-for-20 from the line in the second half and won despite making
just five field goals during the final 20 minutes.
“I think in the
first half we played really well,” said Graham, who entered
the game as the GLVC’s leading scorer at 16.1 points per game.
“We had some ups and downs in the second half, but we were
able to pull away and win.”
Brannen finished with
eight points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots for NKU, while
teammate Brittany Winner added nine points. Karyn Creager scored
eight points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out a team-leading
NKU committed just 11
turnovers the entire game, and taking care of the basketball meant
a great deal against the defensive pressure of Lewis.
able to do that against a team that defends…that’s a
major step in the right direction,” Winstel said of finishing
with 11 turnovers. “We have to be thrilled about that because
it’s the first time that we’ve ever come anywhere near
that total. That’s focus and taking care of the ball.”
Schmidt led Lewis with
19 points, and Mary Moskal added 15 points. Moskal grabbed a game-high
10 rebounds for Lewis. The Flyers entered the game ranked third
in the latest NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region poll, while NKU
NKU now leads the all-time
series with Lewis, 36-5. The two teams split last season, with each
winning at home.
The Norse will play
host to Wisconsin-Parkside at 1 p.m. Saturday in Regents Hall.