scored 30 points
Ind. - During the first two rounds of the Great Lakes Valley Conference
Tournament, Northern Kentucky University’s Brittany Winner
had struggled with her shooting.
forward, in fact, was just 4-for-15 from the field in her previous
two games entering Sunday’s GLVC championship contest against
All that changed
in a big-time way against the powerful Lady Panthers, who entered
Sunday ranked No. 3 nationally in the NCAA Division II poll.
a career-high 30 points as NKU captured the GLVC Tournament championship
with an 86-73 victory over Drury in Roberts Stadium. Winner shot
10-for-13 from the field and made all nine of her free throws as
NKU won its first GLVC title since 2000.
“I think Brittany
had a long talk with herself,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel
said. “We ask Brittany to do so much for us. We ask her to
defend the best perimeter player, we ask her to rebound, we ask
her to handle the ball,we ask her to run the point sometimes, we
ask her to post up, and we ask her to score. And when she doesn’t,
I get on her.
warrior and she’s so athletic. I think she decided that what
she did in the first two games wasn’t good enough, and she
wanted to show she was better.”
Did she ever.
Winner also grabbed seven rebounds, handled the ball flawlessly
against the Drury pressure and was named the most outstanding player
of the tournament as the Norse earned the GLVC’s automatic
berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
scored 15 points against Drury
wanted to play my game, which is being aggressive and taking it
to the basket,” said Winner, whose previous career high was
16 points. “I was frustrated with the way I played during
the first two games, and I just wanted to be aggressive.”
out to a 39-30 halftime lead by holding Drury to 38.5 percent shooting
from the field. The Norse withstood several rallies by the Lady
Panthers in the second half and shot 56.5 percent from the field
during the final 20 minutes.
Katie Butler and Karyn Creager each added 15 points for NKU, which
is ranked No. 22 in the NCAA Division II poll. Nicole Chiodi scored
12 points and made a key 3-pointer late in the second half.
Drury had sliced
a 10-point NKU lead to 67-64 with just under three minutes remaining.
Chiodi found an opening on the right wing and launched a shot from
behind the arc that found the bottom of the net to give the Norse
a 70-64 advantage with 2:44 left on the clock.
the game, Chiodi had made just six 3-pointers the entire season.
The Newport Central Catholic High School graduate, who scored more
than 2,000 career points as a prep standout, also added two assists
and three rebounds in 28 minutes of action against Drury.
“Nicole had the look of determination on her face, especially
the last five or six minutes when we needed it the most,”
Drury fouled Chiodi with 2:04 left, and the sophomore guard responded
by sinking both free throws to extend the Norse lead to 72-64. NKU,
in fact, made its final 15 attempts from the line to ice the championship.
“They fouled Nicole first and made her show that she could
do it,” Winstel said. “She set the tone by putting them
both in. Once we started making them we kept putting them in.”
(24) and Angela Healy
The Norse finished
31-for-34 from the free-throw line and committed just 10 turnovers
against the Drury pressure defense. Earlier this season during a
56-45 loss to the Lady Panthers in Regents Hall, NKU was forced
into 30 turnovers.
Katie Butler came up big for us,” Winstel said of her junior
forward. “The game was pretty physical, but I thought that
Katie and Angela (Healy) gave us some major quality minutes when
we had Karmen (Graham) on the bench.”
leading scorer this season, was in foul trouble most of the game
and finished with two points. The Norse’s frontcourt depth
paid dividends, however, and helped NKU finish with a 32-29 rebounding
advantage over the physical Lady Panthers.
keyed NKU’s first two wins during the event, was named to
the all-tournament team. It was the third GLVC Tournament championship
for NKU, which also won titles in 1999 and 2000.
scored 28 points to lead Drury, and Amanda Newton added 13 points.
Kara Rutledge added 11 points for Drury, which is the No. 1 seed
and host for the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament
next week at Springfield, Mo.
NKU will meet
Michigan Tech (19-8) in the first round on Friday at a time to be