All-American Karmen Graham
Moynahan, NKU Sports Information
Ky. – Was last season a precursor to a national championship
run for the Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball
team? Could NKU be cutting down the nets this March, just like seven
years ago, when the Norse won the NCAA Division II title?
those questions, just consider that:
all five starters from last year’s squad that posted a 27-5
overall record and a 16-3 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark.
back 11 letterwinners who helped capture the GLVC Tournament championship
with a win over Drury and later won an NCAA Division II Tournament
game against Michigan Tech.
five seniors, including All-America forward Karmen Graham and GLVC
Tournament most valuable player Brittany Winner.
In other words,
NKU enters the 2006-07 campaign with lots of expectations.
that this team has raised the bar by what they did last year,”
NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said, “so I think we need to
do all of the things we did last year, but we need to do them all
say all five of the seniors (should make the biggest contributions)
because of their abilities and their experience, but I think you
have to mention all returning players are expected to contribute,”
Winstel added. “I don’t really know that one will give
more than another, but we’ll just have to see.”
One player the
Norse will be looking at to lead the team this season is Graham.
Last season, the 6-foot-1 forward averaged 14.3 points and 5.5 rebounds
per game while being named to both the All-GLVC and All-Great Lakes
Region first teams.
54.2 percent from the floor and 84.3 percent from the free throw
line. She also added 44 assists.
Creager attempts a jumper
receiving All-GVLC honors last season is 5-11 senior guard Karyn
Creager. She earned honorable mention accolades by averaging 9.1
points and 2.2 rebounds. Creager shot a team-leading 86.4 percent
from the free-throw line and made 35.9 percent of her 3-point attempts.
She was also the only player last season to start all 32 games.
is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached. She gives everything
she’s got all of the time,” Winstel said. “Karyn
is a young lady who leads by example. She can really shoot it and
is one of our best defensive players.”
Winner and senior
Katie Butler will also see significant playing time at forward.
The 5-10 Winner finished the season averaging 9.7 points per game
and 5.1 rebounds while playing a team-leading 30.3 minutes of action
per game. She also led the team in with 42 steals.
Winner poured in a career-high 30 points against Drury to lead NKU
in the GLVC Tournament championship game. One of the more versatile
players in the GLVC, Winner can handle the ball against pressure,
shoot from the perimeter and rebound.
Butler, a 6-1
senior who can play both forward and center, averaged 5.4 points
and 2.7 rebounds in her first season with the Norse after transferring
is an outstanding athlete who is not afraid to push herself to be
the very best she can be. She loves a challenge. The bigger the
challenge, the better she likes it.” Winstel said. “Katie
is one of the best pure shooters I have ever coached. She never
seems to get rattled in a game, and she believes she is the best
shooter out there and wants to prove it.”
The fifth senior
is Betsey Clark, a 5-9 guard and a graduate of McNicholas High School
in Cincinnati who saw action in all 32 games last season. She averaged
2.2 points and 1.1 rebounds while dishing out 42 assists.
is a multi-talented player who is very important to our team,”
Winstel said. “She can play all five positions and brings
her defense every day.”
a 6-foot junior guard, will run the point for the second straight
year. Last season, Chiodi started 31 times, dished out a team-leading
112 assists and collected 39 steals. She averaged 7.2 points and
4.3 rebounds per game.
it’s all said and done, Nicole could be the best point guard
to have ever played at NKU,” Winstel said. “She sees
the court and passes the ball extremely well. Her defense has improved,
but she needs to keep challenging herself. She is a very important
part of what we do.”
Healy is a talented inside player
Angela Healy, a 6-1 graduate of Highlands High School, will start
her third season in the middle. She averaged 8.8 points per game
and 5.2 rebounds while collecting a team-leading 35 blocks and 39
steals in 31 games.
she is our strongest player. Angela does a lot of the unnoticed
dirty work,” Winstel said. “She’s not afraid to
get in there and compete. She is a young lady who just keeps getting
better and better.”
in the post will be Cassie Brannen, a 6-1 sophomore from Cincinnati.
Last season, Brannen averaged 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
She led the team past Bellarmine in her first season by scoring
19 points last year in an 82-70 victory in Louisville. She also
shot 57.5 percent from the field and added 26 blocks.
one of the most athletic post players I have ever coached,”
Winstel said of Brannen. “She is a great defensive player
who is coming into her own on the offensive end.”
complete the sophomore class: Karen Brackman, Keri Finnell and Danyelle
Echoles. Brackman, a graduate of Minster High School, saw action
in 31 games last season and averaged 2.9 points per game and 1.0
rebounds, while Echoles, a graduate of Colerain High School, averaged
1.4 points and 0.3 rebounds.
is a very athletic player who, as she gets more experience and confidence,
will be very good,” Winstel said. “Danyelle is a key
role player who can shoot it.”
is in her third season with the team after sitting out as a redshirt
in 2004-05, has battled injuries the previous two seasons. She played
in 11 games last season and averaged 1.2 points and 0.4 rebounds.
is a young lady who has worked extremely hard over the past two
years. She deserves a break when it comes to staying healthy,”
Winstel said. “She could help us a lot if she can stay injury-free.”
The only new
player added to the roster this season is 5-11 freshman guard Rachel
Lantry, a graduate of Holy Cross High School. She was a five-year
starter and scored more than 2,000 points during her career. As
a senior, Lantry led the Indians to a 35th District tournament championship
and 27-6 record.
our lone freshman who is learning our system. She is a very talented
player who can really shoot it,” Winstel said.
Winstel has 499 wins at NKU
All of the experience
from the returning players and the addition of a freshman with great
credentials should help NKU through a tough preseason and regular
season, but Winstel believes the team needs to improve in one specific
area throughout the season to be truly successful this season.
say that it’s a weakness, but I sure know that we must get
better defensively in all phases,” said Winstel, who needs
one win to reach the 500-victory plateau as NKU’s head coach.
“I think our strength is our talent, team chemistry, focus,
senior leadership and work ethic.”
On Nov. 1, NKU
will face Kentucky in Lexington for its first preseason game. The
Norse will also travel to Bloomington, Ind., for a preseason contest
against Indiana on Nov. 6. Both games start at 7 p.m.
The Norse will
begin their regular season at home on Nov. 21 against Midway (Ky.).
Ironically enough, Winstel began her coaching career at Midway,
and she can earn her 500th victory on the NKU sideline against that
very school in the opener.
Nine days later,
NKU will open GLVC play against Quincy at 5:30 p.m. in Regents Hall.
Valley State, the defending NCAA Division II national champion,
will participate in the Travel America Classic in Regents Hall and
will face NKU on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
our experience will help us, but teams will be gearing up for us
more and we need to stay as healthy as possible,” Winstel