Brackman attempts a shot during NKU’s 79-54 win over
Saint Joseph’s on Saturday. Brackman finished with eight
points, three steals and two assists as NKU won its sixth
Anderson, NKU Sports Information
Ky. - When Cassie Brannen excels, her team does as well. That was
the case again Saturday night when Northern Kentucky University
asserted its defensive supremacy en route to a 79-54 rout over Saint
Joseph's in Regents Hall.
Brannen, a sophomore
from Cincinnati, proved to be the difference-maker for the Norse.
She scored 17 points, shooting 7-of-7 from the field and 3-for-3
at the free-throw line. Brannen also grabbed seven rebounds to lead
NKU, which extended its winning streak to six and improved to 13-5
overall, 7-4 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
The Norse are
5-0 on this season when Brannen scores in double figures. That statistic
took NKU head coach Nancy Winstel by surprise.
aware of it, but I do believe it because she's so important to everything
we do,” Winstel of the Mount Notre Dame High School graduate.
“I think Cassie is one of the best kept secrets in the GLVC.
“If you look at the games in which we've had big wins, Cassie
has had a big game.”
added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Katie Butler
came off the bench and added 10 points and had three of NKU's 11
blocked shots. The Norse received 37 points from their bench and
ran away from the visitors in front of a loud Homecoming crowd in
good to get everyone in,” said Brannen of her teammates. “These
girls work really hard in practice, and it just goes to show how
strong this team is.”
praised her reserves for their performance Saturday night. But she
also said their contributions to the success of the program is never
seen by the fans.
help us every day, they make us better. Today was a chance for me
to say thanks to them and give them some quality playing time,”
Winstel said. "They
don’t get their names in the paper very often. They don’t
get a whole lot of pats on the back. They want to play and they
work every day.
they all took advantage of it, especially Betsey (Clark) and Keri
(Finnell). Betsey has been working really hard in practice, and
so has Keri."
Brannen goes up for two of her 17 points Saturday. Brannen
finished 7-for-7 from the field and also added seven rebounds.
By the end of
the game, every Norse player had registered at least 10 minutes
on the floor. NKU's defense was punishing in the first half, holding
Saint Joseph's to just 20.8 percent shooting. The Norse shot 65.4
percent from the field and made both of their attempts from 3-point
a career-high nine points, while Karen Brackman finished with eight
points and had three steals. The NKU bench took over just before
the halftime break, as Finnell scored the final seven points of
the first half.
close in the game's first four minutes, but the Norse blew it wide
open with a 38-8 run to lead by 30 (42-12) at intermission. Saint
Joseph’s attempted to press NKU, but it did little to stop
the Norse in the first half.
press is nothing new for Winstel's squad. “I don't think teams
are pressing us because of our game, but because of the way they
play. Saint Joseph’s press wasn't really a trapping press,
but they don't press a lot.”
The Norse shot
65.4 percent from the field during the first half and held Saint
Joseph’s to 20.8 percent shooting. The 12 points allowed in
the first half was a low-water mark for NKU, which is now 10-0 when
holding opposing teams to their defensive average of 59.3 points
(4-14, 1-9 GLVC) sliced the NKU lead to 21 points in the second
half but never really threatened. Allison Hughes scored 15 of her
team-high 18 after the break, and was the only Puma in double figures.
NKU will have
to be ready for the press once again when they travel to Springfield,
Mo., Thursday night to take on Drury in a rematch of last season's
GLVC Tournament championship game.
is a pressing team and a running team,” said Winstel as she
looked ahead to next week. “They're probably throwing in that
tape from Evansville from last year, so I'm sure that Nyla (Milleson)
is fired up to play us.”
“Drury probably will press us, but we'll be working on it
in practice this week. I think we'll be ready for it.”
NKU will also
travel to Rockhurst next Saturday before returning home for four
games. The Norse are ranked sixth in the NCAA Division II Great
Lakes Region poll.