Healy attempts a jumper in the lane
Ky. - They don't necessarily look dominating when they take the
court, but the Grand Valley State Lakers sure know how to win big
games. And they can do it at home, on the road or on a neutral floor.
That's why Grand
Valley State is a real threat to repeat as NCAA Division II national
champions. The Lakers demonstrated their knack for playing well
against outstanding teams during the two-day Travel America Classic
in Regents Hall, the latest being an emphatic 74-58 victory over
Northern Kentucky University on Tuesday night.
State shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half to build
a 38-22 lead, and NKU was unable to generate any kind of rally after
the break. The Lakers were 6-for-8 from 3-point range in the opening
20 minutes and used an early 13-2 run to build a 15-6 lead.
an excellent team, and when you play a team that scores inside and
outside, you have to give them credit," NKU head coach Nancy
Winstel said. "There are some things that we didn’t do,
but Grand Valley played awfully well. I thought we were fired up
to play, and I felt we were excited. But Grand Valley is an exceptional
The two main
culprits in the first half were Crystal Zick and Erika Ryskamp,
who combined for 26 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field.
Zick had 17 of her game-high 27 points by the break, and Ryskamp
netted nine of her 15 in the first half.
Zick and Ryskamp
each drained a trio of 3-pointers in the first half. And neither
missed from long range during the opening 20 minutes.
like (Zick and Ryskamp) made every shot they took," Winstel
continued for much of the second half as Grand Valley State's lead
ballooned up to 64-38 with 10:43 remaining. NKU shot 56.5 percent
from the field in the second half, but the Lakers countered by making
60.9 percent of their attempts from the floor.
NKU also committed
23 turnovers, which offset a 28-19 advantage in rebounding for the
the screens well. We were trying to hit the roller and they were
quick on their recovery, so that made it difficult," said Brittany
Winner, who led NKU with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.
"I don’t know if it was so much their defense, but our
offense just wasn't protecting it."
Winner led NKU with 13 points
and Karyn Creager each added 10 points for NKU, which is ranked
17th nationally in the NCAA Division II poll. Nicole Chiodi scored
eight points, while Danyelle Echoles came off the bench and finished
with seven points.
It wasn't enough
to stop the Lakers, who had defeated then-No. 2 Emporia State during
the first night of the Travel America Classic. Emporia State, which
defeated Northern Michigan on Tuesday, dropped to No. 3 in the poll
as a result of the loss to Grand Valley State.
national champions definitely made an impression during the two-day
feel like we could zone them. We felt like we had to man them up
because of their ability to shoot the outside shot," Winstel
said. "They’re so quick and fast, and they take the ball
to the basket. When we were down with about 11 minutes left we went
to a press.
really help us a whole lot, but it did get our energy going a little
bit. It just seemed like anything that we tried to do didn’t
NKU and Grand
Valley State also met last March in the semifinals of the NCAA Division
II Great Lakes Regional at Springfield, Mo., and the Lakers shot
73.3 percent from the field in the first half and coasted to a 91-70
win over the Norse. Healy and Winner both said Tuesday was much
different that the previous meeting.
we played a lot better, it was just that they made their shots,"
Healy said. "Our intensity was up, and we played hard the entire
"This was a very different game from the last time. We battled
them hard, and I don’t think we let our intensity drop this
time around. Even when we were down, we were intense, we were talking
and moving the ball. I think it was very different from last year."
Winner and Healy
each were named to the all-tournament team. Healy also extended
her consecutive made free-throw streak to 19, eight shy of tying
Creager's school-record 27 straight makes.
hit all six of her free throws Tuesday night and now has made 20
consecutive from the line.
NKU will return
to action Dec. 28 in Lakeland, Fla., with a game against St. Rose
(N.Y.). The Norse will also meet Mercyhurst (Pa.) the following
Angela Healy (42) and Brittany Winner were named to the 2006
Travel America Classic all-tournament team. The 2006 all-tournament
team consisted of: