Winner is mobbed by teammates after her buzzer-beating shot
gave NKU a 60-58 win over UW-Parkside. Winner’s heroics
extended the Norse’s winning streak to 10 games.
Ky. - She did it again, and, given her history for last-second dramatics,
no one should be surprised.
Not one to shy
away from big moments on the basketball court, Brittany Winner conjured
up her late-game magic one more time in Regents Hall on Saturday.
Northern Kentucky University and Wisconsin-Parkside were tied at
58-all with 4.2 seconds remaining, and the Norse had to go the length
of the floor and score if they were to avoid overtime.
NKU wanted to
up-screen on the final play and break someone free, but Wisconsin-Parkside
sagged back. That left the Norse with their second option.
the ball in the backcourt and sped upcourt as the clock wound down.
She drove the lane against heavy defensive pressure and put up a
runner off the glass just before time expired.
The ball spun
around the rim for a moment, then dropped through the net to give
NKU a 60-58 victory at the buzzer. The Norse winning streak stood
at 10 because of a player whose jersey number is 10 on Feb. 10.
- and Winner - were aligned correctly for NKU on Saturday.
that 4.2 seconds was a pretty long time, and we just ran our special
press break. We just wanted to attack the basket if we didn’t
get anything long," NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. "The
ball got into Brittany Winner’s hands, and Brittany did what
she does best: take the ball to the rack. What an incredible play
was mobbed by teammates following the shot, the Wisconsin-Parkside
players stood on the court in stunned silence. Just two minutes
earlier, it appeared the Rangers were on the verge of securing their
first-ever season sweep of NKU.
owned a 58-54 lead with 1:43 left in the game, but Winner converted
a drive to the basket to bring NKU within 58-56. After a Wisconsin-Parkside
miss with less than 30 seconds to play, Betsey Clark found Karyn
Creager behind the Ranger defense with a nice outlet pass. Creager
drove in for the layup that tied the game at 58-all.
Drive: Brittany Winner glides past UW-Parkside’s Ashley
Ferguson as the clock winds down in the final seconds.
After a timeout,
Wisconsin-Parkside found inside scoring machine Kari Score, who
tried to power a shot over NKU's Cassie Brannen. Score's attempt
was blocked by Brannen, and a jump ball was called. The possession
arrow favored NKU, and the stage was set for Winner.
we drew up was to try to get it in long and get it down the court.
Cassie was open in the middle, and no one had me right on the inbounds,
so I just took it," Winner said. "There were four seconds
left, and you don’t have many options to think about. I took
one look at the clock and it was down to about two (seconds), and
I thought maybe I’ll get there, maybe I won’t.
thing is that we would have gone to overtime, so I took it and it
actually went in."
Being a former
state champion track athlete at Minster High School helped Winner's
cause, as her speed allowed her to just beat the clock. Barely.
I wasn’t sure. I heard the horn go off, and I knew it was
close," Winner said. "Then I saw it roll in and I was
like 'count it, count it, please.' The (officials) said it was good,
so I started jumping around."
So did the rest
of the NKU bench. The Norse improved to 17-5 overall, 11-4 in the
Great Lakes Valley Conference. The 10-game winning streak is the
longest in the GLVC or Great Lakes Region at the moment.
a bit flat after knocking off No. 7 Lewis on Thursday, NKU still
held a 24-15 lead with 5:43 left before the half. Wisconsin-Parkside
ended the first half with a 11-5 run to trail just 29-26 at the
15 of her 21 points in the second half as the Rangers forged a 45-41
lead with 8:02 remaining. NKU rallied behind the play of senior
guard Betsey Clark, who drained a pair of clutch 3-point shots,
the last one giving the Norse a 49-45 lead with 6:21 left.
Clark, a graduate
of McNicholas High School in Cincinnati, added six rebounds and
two assists in 24 minutes.
just open, and coach was telling me that they weren’t going
to guard me because I’m not really a threat to score,"
Clark said. "I was wide open and Angela (Healy) made a great
pass, so I just shot it and it went in. Luck was on my side at that
Shot: Winner releases the ball just before the horn sounds.
It hits the glass, rolls around the rim and finally falls
to give NKU the victory in Regents Hall.
pass to Creager for the tying basket late in the game was also a
her take off running, and I knew that they didn’t have their
safety guard back," Clark said. "I was like, 'I’m
just going to launch it and let her run it down.' Karyn did a great
job in finishing the layup. It was just a great play by her."
Winner led NKU
with 17 points and added three rebounds. Brannen finished with 12
points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots for NKU, which shot
47.7 percent from the field. Her defense on Score in the closing
seconds turned out to be the big play.
played that perfectly, and it was a big defensive stop with the
game on the line," Winstel said. "She is really playing
well and giving us great minutes."
with 11 points and two assists, and Nicole Chiodi added seven points
and three assists.
to her 21 points, Score grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Wisconsin-Parkside
(14-9, 7-8 GLVC). Ashley Ferguson added 13 points for the Rangers,
who defeated NKU earlier this season at Kenosha, Wis.
8-for-12 from 3-point range, led by Winner's 3-for-3 performance
behind the arc. Chiodi and Clark also connected on a pair of treys.
sagging big time and when we got the ball, they were really giving
Nicole and Betsey the 3's, especially Betsey," Winstel said.
"I told Betsey, 'they don’t respect you.' She’s
a senior and a veteran. She understands what is going on. She’s
not a starter, but she’s always mentally prepared. She works
her butt off everyday in practice and when you do that, good things
are going to happen to you.
"Today, Betsey Clark showed the reason why you’re always
prepared and ready to go. I’m happy for my team but I’m
really happy for her."
The Norse conclude
their home schedule next week with games against Bellarmine (Tuesday
at 5:30 p.m.) and Kentucky Wesleyan (Thursday at 5:30 p.m.).
NKU will face a Bellarmine team which hung an 85-78 loss on the
Norse in December.
Prior to the
game against Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday, NKU will recognize its
five senior players - Winner, Creager, Clark, Katie Butler and Karmen
Graham - and their families.
The Norse will
close out the regular season with road games against Saint Joseph's
(Feb. 22) and Indianapolis (Feb. 24). NKU begins defense of its
GLVC Tournament March 2 at Evansville, Ind. Times and first-round
pairings for the GLVC Tournament will be announced in the evening