Butler challenges Katie Bunge during NKU's 72-51 win over
Missouri-Rolla. Butler scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds
and blocked three shots as the Norse collected the GLVC victory.
Ky. - Karmen Graham reached 1,000 career points in front of the
home fans, and Northern Kentucky University began the road back
to defending its conference title Thursday night at the expense
The Norse coasted
to a 72-51 win over the visiting Lady Miners in Regents Hall. NKU
snapped a four-game losing streak against Great Lakes Valley Conference
opponents and improved to 8-5 overall, 2-4 in the GLVC.
and Karyn Creager combined for 37 points to lead NKU, which held
Missouri-Rolla to 32.8 percent shooting from the field. Butler poured
in 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds for NKU, while Creager added
17 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Butler, a 6-foot-1
senior forward, netted 15 of her 20 points in the second half as
NKU gradually pulled away from the Lady Miners (8-6, 2-5 GLVC).
She drained a 3-pointer to begin a 16-6 run in the second half that
stretched a 32-25 lead into a 48-31 cushion with 11:49 remaining.
blocked three shots and was 9-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Katie is a tremendous talent, and I think that we’re very
fortunate to have her," Winstel said. "She has so many
offensive tools, and we just need to get her on the floor. We need
to find ways to allow her on the court.
that her understanding of what she needs to do in practice gets
better every day, and with that she’s going to play a lot
Butler, a transfer
from the University of Dayton who has provided NKU with instant
offense during her two years, is getting better defensively, and
that will mean even more playing time. The Findlay, Ohio, native
also said she realizes it is time for the Norse to put together
wins if they hope to make this season special. Especially the seniors.
noticed it when school started for the second semester. I have four
classes, and then I graduate, so I just need to realize that I’ve
played basketball all my life, and this is my last go around at
it," she said. "We just need to step it up in the second
half of the season so our five seniors, who have been playing for
so long, can go out on top of our game."
Graham, a senior
from Kettering, Ohio, became the 22nd player in Norse history to
score 1,000 career points when she made a pair of free throws in
the first half. It was unfamiliar territory for the All-American
Brackman finishes off a baseline drive with a reverse layup
during the second half. Brackman finished with seven points.
even score 1,000 points in high school, so it was exciting to reach
that mark. But it was even better because we were able to get a
win," said Graham, who finished with five points.
the milestone tells only part of the story about Graham, who has
battled injuries and sickness this season.
her 1,000th (point) ball. There are a lot of outstanding players
in (the 1,000-point club), but, boy, I’m really happy for
her," Winstel said. "Whether she’s 100 percent or
80 percent, she’s going to give you 100 percent of whatever
she is. If Karmen’s 75 percent, she’s going to give
you 100 percent of that.
plays so hard and she wants to win. Karmen’s such a leader
by example. Those are the things that you just can’t teach
somebody; her will and want to win."
added eight points and eight rebounds for NKU, and teammate Nicole
Chiodi scored eight points. Karen Brackman came off the bench to
score seven points and grab five rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
sophomore guard from Minster, Ohio, helped the NKU bench produce
33 points against Missouri-Rolla. She knocked down a 3-pointer and
had three rebounds in the first half. Her baseline drive and acrobatic
reverse layup in the second half gave NKU a 13-point lead.
I’ve had a really good week of practice, so I had a lot of
confidence coming into tonight’s game," Brackman said.
"We haven’t been home in a long time, and we need to
get fired up and start another winning streak. We know we can do
it, but we need to keep our confidence and keep pushing each other
NKU made just
39.6 percent of its shots from the field, but the Norse converted
26-of-32 attempts from the line. Creager, who last week shattered
her own school record when she hit her 34th consecutive free throw,
was 5-for-6 at the line and added three steals. The senior guard
from Leipsic, Ohio, scored 10 of her 17 points in the second half.
which went almost 10 minutes without scoring a point during the
first half, failed to place a player in double figures. Four players
netted eight points for the Lady Miners.
can get back to pursuing the GLVC East Division title. After suffering
through an 0-for-2 road trip last week, playing in Regents Hall
we were at home, and that helps," Winstel said. "I think
that our kids want to win, and they don’t want to get beat.
They want to be successful, but when you struggle, that’s
when you have to work harder, and that’s what we’re
trying to do.
easy when things are going great, but when things aren’t going
well or when you have to fight through injuries or complacency or
even believing in yourself and each other, then you’ve got
to try to find ways. I think that you find the measure of your team
when you’re put in those situations."
NKU will play
host to Missouri-St. Louis at 1 p.m. Saturday.