Graham led NKU with 17 points
Ky. - Northern Michigan University's history as a power in women's
basketball speaks for itself, but the Wildcats were simply the hors
d'oeuvres Monday night for Northern Kentucky University in the Travel
The main course
looms Tuesday night in the form of defending NCAA Division II national
champion Grand Valley State, which ended NKU's postseason run last
March in the NCAA Tournament.
A night before
that showdown, NKU cruised to a 68-46 win over Northern Michigan.
The Norse (5-2) held the Wildcats (3-6) to 32.1 percent shooting
from the field and never trailed. NKU, in fact, scored the first
13 points of the game, and, after a brief rally by Northern Michigan,
put the contest away in the second half.
was thinking about Grand Valley, but you know we’ve got to
play Northern Michigan, and they are also a GLIAC school which makes
it a big regional game," said NKU head coach Nancy Winstel,
whose team is ranked No. 16 nationally in the NCAA Division II poll.
"Northern Michigan is a very formidable team. They just beat
Ashland by 22, so that was a big win for them. They’re very
physical. We came out and had good energy."
paced NKU with 17 points in just 18 minutes of action. The 6-foot-1
senior was 5-for-7 from the field and grabbed three rebounds.
really happy with our defense because we’ve kind of been struggling,"
Graham said. "We held them under 50 (points) and that’s
good because that was one of our goals."
added 14 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists for
NKU, while teammate Katie Butler scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds
and blocked three shots. The Norse finished 8-for-16 from 3-point
range, and Butler made all three of her attempts from downtown.
eight points during the first half as NKU opened up a 30-18 lead.
Winner added seven points and three steals before the break.
came in and did a great job, and I thought Brittany Winner played
a really nice game for us," Winstel said. "I thought we
were active. I thought that we were aggressive. Our defense is getting
better. As a coach you’re always pushing that part of the
Echoles scores off the break
rebounding has to be there every game, and I’m going to preach
that until my dying day. We just have to continue to get better
at it and keep working on it and everybody has to buy into it."
NKU led by as
many as 23 points in the second half, and 11 of 12 players scored
for the Norse. Northern Michigan was 2-for-17 from 3-point range
for the game and committed 17 turnovers.
NKU will now
set its sights on No. 3 Grand Valley State, which edged No. 2 Emporia
State, 73-71 in overtime on Monday. Erin Cyplik's short jumper with
0.7 seconds left gave the Lakers (10-1) the victory.
The last time
NKU and Grand Valley State met, the Lakers shot 73.3 percent from
the field in the first half and coasted to a 91-70 win over the
Norse in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional
at Springfield, Mo. The Lakers led as many as 31 points in the final
NKU gets another
shot at the national champions Tuesday night, and everyone is looking
forward to the challenge.
a formidable task for us. I know our team is very excited to have
the opportunity to play them," Winstel said. "We’re
going to have to really get after it. We’re going to have
to play them with an energy that is just one possession at a time.
We have to be very focused, and who knows what might happen."
led Grand Valley State with 24 points against Emporia State. Erika
Ryskamp added 18 points for the Lakers, whose only loss this season
is to Bellarmine. NKU also lost to Bellarmine on Dec. 9 at Louisville,
led Emporia State (7-2) with 18 points and eight rebounds. The Hornets
shot just 28.6 percent during the overtime, while Grand Valley made
50 percent of its attempts from the floor.