led NKU with 17 points
Mo. - A tornado warning temporarily halted play late in the first
half of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament semifinal
game between Northern Kentucky University and Grand Valley State
on Saturday night.
was going to stop torrid-shooting Grand Valley State. The Lakers
already owned a 42-29 lead with 3:47 left in the first half when
tournament officials decided to clear Weiser Gym for safety reasons
after tornado sirens went off around the city.
think they could get much better when they resumed the game,”
NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said of Grand Valley State.
did get even better and rolled to a 91-70 win over NKU. Grand Valley
State shot 73.3 percent from the field in the first half to take
a 51-34 lead at the break, and the Lakers extended that advantage
to as many as 31 points in the final 20 minutes.
scored 25 points for second-seeded Grand Valley State, which won
its 18th consecutive game and improved to 29-3. Niki Reams added
23 points as the defending regional champion Lakers advanced to
meet top-seeded Drury for the trip to the NCAA Division II Elite
State started the game by making 11 of its first 13 shots from the
field to build a 22-13 lead. Crystal Zick scored eight of her 15
points in the first seven minutes of the game to spark the Lakers.
“It seemed like
their first 12 or 14 points were layups,” Winstel said. “It
was tough to stop them when they are getting to the blocks. They
took us off the dribble, and they took us off the post. It’s
hard to stop a team when they are getting layups the whole game,
and that is what they were doing. They were just beating us one-on-one,
and they were taking it to us.”
Healy scored 11 against GVSU
The Lakers cooled off
to the tune of 50 percent from the field in the second half and
finished at 62.5 percent for the game. Zick dished out 11 assists
for Grand Valley State, and Erin Cyplik added 17 points, seven rebounds
and three steals.
“We relied on
our defense all year, and it seems like tonight that we struggled
with that,” said NKU’s Karmen Graham, who scored a team-leading
17 points. “We would change something up, and they would hit
a shot. We’d change it again, they’d hit it again. I
think our defense wasn’t as good as it should have been.”
Ryskamp finished 10-for-12
from the field and made a trio of 3-point shots, while Reams - the
Daktronics, Inc. Great Lakes Region Player of the Year - was 8-for-13
from the field.
Brittany Winner added
13 points and six rebounds for the Norse, who entered the game allowing
just 56.2 points per contest. NKU also was holding the opposition
to 37 percent shooting from the field prior to Saturday’s
Nicole Chiodi scored
12 points and had four assists, while Angela Healy finished with
11 points. NKU (27-5) shot 49 percent from the field and actually
scored three more points than its season average of 67.
“For us, 70 points
is pretty good. That’s probably our average or maybe a little
bit better, but we’re used to holding people to in the 60s.
We’re not a high-scoring type of team,” Winstel said.
“We gave up 51 points by halftime. Our goal was to keep them
under 100. They were very, very good tonight.
“I told our kids
we’ve had a great year, but we had a rough game. You have
to give Grand Valley credit, but I just didn’t think we came
out of the gates like I would have liked for us to do. I think we
all thought we were ready to play.”
NKU, with no seniors
on the roster, will welcome back all 12 letterwinners from its Great
Lakes Valley Conference championship team next season. The Norse,
who missed last season’s NCAA Tournament, will use this game
as a learning experience for 2006-07.
to say, but I think (Grand Valley State’s) tournament experience
was very evident tonight. They did the same thing to Ashland yesterday,
and I was optimistic to think that they weren’t going to do
that to us,” Winstel said. “They are playing very, very
well right now. They are just very disciplined, very quick, very
Graham, who was earlier
this week named first team All-Great Lakes Region, scored her 900th
career point in the second half of the game Saturday night. The
6-foot-1 junior forward is also one of 40 finalists for WBCA/Kodak
Division II All-America honors.