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NORSE ROLL TO 62-47 WIN OVER KWC - Jan. 5, 2006
NKU remains perfect (22-0) in Regents Hall against Kentucky Wesleyan

Brittany Winner dishes off an assist

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - For the Kentucky Wesleyan women’s basketball team, a visit to Regents Hall has always ended with a loss to Northern Kentucky University.

And nothing changed Thursday when the Panthers made their annual visit to play NKU in Regents Hall.

NKU remained perfect at home in the all-time series against Kentucky Wesleyan with a 62-47 win over the Panthers. Karmen Graham scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half as the Norse improved to 22-0 all-time in Regents Hall against Kentucky Wesleyan.

Angela Healy added 16 points and seven rebounds for NKU, which upped its overall record to 9-3. Brittany Winner finished with 12 points and eight rebounds as the Norse moved to 3-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Kentucky Wesleyan - playing without its two leading scorers Thursday due to injuries - dropped to 6-6 overall, 2-3 in the GLVC. The Panthers, however, jumped out to a 14-9 lead in first 11 minutes of the game as Holly Mills scored six points.

NKU responded with an 8-0 run to take a 17-14 lead on a pair of free throws by Karen Brackman. The Norse settled for a 21-18 halftime advantage by holding Kentucky Wesleyan to 28 percent shooting from the field.

“They’re playing without a couple injured players and when that happens, you know that teams tend to rise up,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “I don’t think that we looked past them at all because we were practicing very hard for this game.

“I will say to our credit that in the second half we bounced back. You know that when you’re at home in the GLVC, you have to play hard.”

Karmen Graham shoots against KWC

NKU blistered the nets at a 63.2 percent clip from the field in the second half and coasted to the win. Graham was 9-for-12 from the free-throw line and added six rebounds. She also had two blocked shots and was 6-for-9 from the field.

“We just tried to go to a cutting and moving offense (in the second half),” Winstel said. “We tried to move a little bit as opposed to screening. Kentucky Wesleyan is so quick and they played a smaller line-up. We wanted to use our size to our advantage.”

Cassie Brannen came off the bench and blocked three shots for NKU. Karyn Creager added five points and three assists for the Norse.

Winner led NKU with four assists - all in the second half. She also scored eight points after the break.

What was the difference in the second half?

“I think we kind of changed our offense. They were trapping the screens, so we started running our offense where there was just more of a spread option, so we could run around and cut more,” Winner said. “We weren’t relying on our ball screens because that was what got us in trouble. I think that opened a lot of things for us.”

Winner, a versatile 5-foot-10 junior forward, helped at the point on Thursday. NKU finished with 16 assists as a team.

“We can’t put all the pressure on Nicole (Chiodi) to be our point guard for 40 minutes a game, day in and day out. If I can help out, or if Betsey (Clark) can help out, then it’s a chance to give Nicole a break. It’s all about the team,” Winner said.

Megan Fletcher led Kentucky Wesleyan with 21 points. The Panthers made just 32.7 percent of their shots from the field and lost the rebounding battle by a 40-26 margin. NKU now leads the all-time series with Kentucky Wesleyan, 43-4.

NKU will play host to Southern Indiana at 1 p.m. Saturday in a GLVC game.