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NKU HOLDS OFF UW-PARKSIDE, 68-62 - Jan. 21, 2006
Healy scores 21 points as Norse win eighth consecutive game - by Kelli Moynahan

Angela Healy led NKU with 21 points

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Northern Kentucky University withstood several rallies from Wisconsin-Parkside on Saturday, and Angela Healy scored 21 points as the Norse extended their winning streak to eight with a 68-62 victory over the Rangers in Regents Hall.

Karyn Creager added 11 points for NKU, which improved to 14-3 overall, 8-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Norse fought off a late Wisconsin-Parkside rally behind the clutch play of Healy, a sophomore center from Highlands High School.

NKU jumped out to a 10-0 lead and appeared ready to make quick work of Wisconsin-Parkside. The Rangers, however, shot 52.4 percent from the field in the first half and trailed just 35-29 at the break.

“We got off to a good start, and I just thought they (Wisconsin-Parkside) raised their intensity level,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “We didn’t guard as hard as we normally do. I was disappointed with that, because that’s something that you have to bring with you every game. That’s something we have to understand.

“You have got to play every night. We were fortunate to get this one.”

NKU built a 39-29 advantage early in the second half, but the Rangers used a 9-2 run to cut the Norse lead to 41-38 with 14:46 left. NKU answered with another spurt, which included four points from Katie Butler, to take a 50-41 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.

But Wisconsin-Parkside (4-13 overall, 1-8 in the GLVC) would not go away, and guards Ashley Ferguson, Carrie Schieve and Mackenzie Heise keyed the rally. The Rangers tied the score twice in the second half but never gained the lead.

“I thought (Wisconsin-Parkside) came in here and worked hard,” Creager said. “Normally, defense is our bread and butter, but they shot the ball really well. I thought that we did make some big plays at the end that helped us pull through and win the game.”

Katie Butler added nine points Saturday

After Wisconsin-Parkside pulled within 62-59 with less than a minute left in the game, Healy powered in for a layup while being fouled. She converted the free throw to give NKU a 65-59 lead.

Healy also grabbed five rebounds and was 7-for-9 from the free-throw line.

Butler finished with nine points for the Norse, who are ranked fifth in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region poll. Karen Brackman added eight points for NKU, and Karmen Graham finished with seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Graham’s streak of scoring in double figures ended at 10 straight games. The junior post player finished with five assists and also was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Brittany Winner added seven points and four steals for NKU, which won despite losing the rebounding battle by a 35-24 margin. It also marked the first time this season an opponent scored 60 or more points against the Norse defense.

NKU, however, committed just nine turnovers the entire game. In fact, the Norse have only 20 total turnovers during the past two games. If that statistic keeps improving, NKU will be difficult to beat.

“I know in the last game we only had 11 (turnovers), and that’s what we’ve been working on the most in practice,” Creager said. “I think that’s really helped us improve as a team.”

Ferguson led Wisconsin-Parkside with 20 points, and Schieve added 13 points and six assists. Heise finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

“Their guard play is as good as anybody’s in the conference. We knew that going in,” Winstel said. “Schieve, Heise and Ferguson…those three especially are very, very good players. I’d like to say that I wish we could have guarded (Ferguson) better.

“I think she got a lot of the points, but I think some of it was us. I don’t think we defended nearly as well as we usually do.”

The Norse will play host to NAIA power Georgetown (Ky.) at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in a non-conference game. NKU will return to GLVC play next Saturday against Bellarmine at 5:30 p.m. in Regents Hall.