Nicole Chiodi drives against Ferris State defender Teghan
Thelen during the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional. Chiodi
posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Ill. - Sometime in the near future, perhaps even as soon as the
next couple of days, the five outgoing senior women’s basketball
players at Northern Kentucky University will look back at all they
accomplished and see the impact they made on the Norse program during
their collective careers.
But the pain
of a heartbreaking, last-second 70-69 loss to Ferris State in the
first round of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament
clouded any pleasant memories for the Norse seniors Friday afternoon.
The surreal, did-that-really-happen final seconds of the game played
out like this:
Healy took a pass in the low post and powered in a shot to give
NKU a 69-68 lead with 9.1 seconds left.
State’s Sam Johns hurried a shot that missed the mark, but
neither team could control the rebound. Surrounded by players from
both teams, Ferris State’s Audrey Thwing batted the loose
ball just enough to find teammate Teghan Thelen, who was alone on
the right side underneath the basket.
in horror as Thelen laid the ball in as time expired, giving the
seventh-seeded Bulldogs the victory.
crazy. Sam took it all the way. She was driving full court, and
she missed the layup," Thelen said. "Then somehow, Audrey
was laying on the floor with the ball and there were three girls
around her, and she just threw it up to me and I was standing underneath
much, it was like a hot potato because I had no idea how much time
was left on the clock.”
to end the season for NKU, which entered the game as the No. 2 seed
in the Great Lakes Region.
now 22-8 and one of the most talented No. 7 seeds in NCAA Division
II women’s basketball history, will meet Gannon (Pa.) - a
66-59 upset winner over defending NCAA Division II national champion
Grand Valley State in another first-round game Friday - in Saturday’s
scored 22 points for the Bulldogs, who defeated NKU for the third
consecutive time after dropping the first four meetings with the
Norse. Rachel Folcik added 19 points and eight rebounds for Ferris
State, which finished with a 42-35 edge on the glass.
A year ago in
the first round of the NCAA Tournament, NKU used a layup by Karyn
Creager in the closing seconds to defeat Michigan Tech, 67-66. This
time around, the last-second heroics ended the Norse’s season
with a 21-8 record.
year we won at the buzzer, and now I kind of know how the Michigan
Tech girls felt," said NKU senior forward Katie Butler. "This
time, the ball just rolled in at the buzzer, and we didn’t
even have a chance to go down and try and throw up a last-second
shot like Michigan Tech did. But, I have sympathy for how their
seniors went out last year. I never thought I would end my career
with a last-second loss.”
Butler scored a team-leading 15 points off the bench for NKU
on Friday. The senior from Findlay, Ohio, made all thee of
her 3-point attempts and was 6-for-8 from the field.
15 points to lead NKU, which led by 10 points in the first half.
Ferris State rallied, however, and cut the Norse advantage to 37-34
at the break.
played great, particularly in the first half," NKU head coach
Nancy Winstel said. "She kept us in it, got us the lead, got
us up. You can’t ask for more than that. I thought in the
end what really hurt us, what was really our demise, was their offensive
rebounding. I thought we gave up some second shots.
were times when they made really great plays, but they made greater
plays on the second shot. I don’t know if we got a little
tired midway through the second half, but they didn’t beat
us with the first shot. They beat us with their second shot, and
they just went and got it. It wore on us."
NKU jumped out
to a 42-34 lead early in the second half when Brittany Winner buried
a 3-pointer, but Ferris State responded with a 13-2 run to gain
a 47-44 advantage with 15:36 left. The teams battled back and forth
the remainder of the game, until Ferris State pulled it out at the
11 points and 10 rebounds from Nicole Chiodi. Cassie Brannen scored
14 points and blocked two shots, and Healy finished with 11 points
and six assists.
Karmen Graham wrapped up their basketball careers Friday having
already joined the Norse’s 1,000-point club earlier in the
season. Graham, an honorable mention All-America selection as a
junior who was slowed by injuries the majority of her senior season,
scored six points against Ferris State. The Kettering, Ohio, native
finished her career with 1,088 points.
greatest free-throw shooter (87.9 percent) in Norse women’s
basketball history, scored four points, grabbed four rebounds and
had two assists in her finale. The Leipsic, Ohio, native ended her
NKU career with 1,035 points.
Betsey Clark completed her career by playing in the NCAA Tournament
for the third time in four years. The Cincinnati native helped NKU
win 48 games her final two seasons.
Creager had the assignment to guard the others team’s best
perimeter player all year long,” Winstel said. “She
had the assignment to guard Reinhart, and I think she did a good
job throughout the game, but that kid is a tough player and she
did some really good things.
Graham had some knee problems this year, and it has just been between
60 to 70 percent all season. But she gives you 100 percent of everything
that she has every day in practice. A bigger heart you will never
find in a player, she is a warrior of a player.
Winner finished her NKU career with eight points, seven rebounds
and three assists against Ferris State.
is the type of player who does everything for you. She defends;
she rebounds; she runs our stuff and understands what is going on.
She’s a coach on the floor and just a very solid young lady
who comes each day and practices hard.
who joined NKU after transferring from Division I programs - Butler
and Winner - also made their final appearance in Norse uniforms
Friday. Butler, a native of Findlay, Ohio, who played two years
at Dayton, proved to be an offensive machine with her ability to
shoot from the perimeter.
versatility, all-out effort and uncanny ability to hit big shots
made her one of the top players in the Great Lakes Valley Conference,
finished her three-year career with the Norse by scoring eight points,
grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out three assists.
A native of
Minster, Ohio, Winner played at Elon (N.C.) as a freshman before
transferring to NKU. The 5-foot-10 forward, who was named All-GLVC
first team and All-Great Lakes Region second team by Daktronics
this season, ended her collegiate career with 944 points.
going to be tough to replace these five young ladies. They have
been tremendously important to our program, and we love them,”
Winstel said. “Win, lose or draw, we are going to feel that
“I was pretty miserable at Dayton, so this has just been an
incredible two years for me. I have loved every minute of it. At
one time, I did think about not playing basketball because I was
so unhappy where I was before.
chance, I kind of fell into their hands. It’s been fun ever
since. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s always
been fun. I’m going to miss it. I can’t believe it is