---Jessie Slack (21) and Rachel Lantry (5) block out during a win over Fayetteville State on Dec. 17. NKU returns to GLVC action this week with games against Rockhurst and Drury.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball team plays host to a pair of key Great Lakes Valley Conference games this week, starting with a Thursday contest against Rockhurst at 5:30 p.m.

NKU, which is ranked No. 15 nationally in the latest NCAA Division II poll, also faces a showdown on Saturday with No. 3 Drury at 1 p.m.

NKU is 8-2 overall, 1-1 in the GLVC. The Norse dropped a 66-55 decision at Grand Valley State last Saturday to wrap up their non-conference schedule. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Norse.

ICY COLD IN MICHIGAN: NKU made just 37.5 percent of its shots from the field at Grand Valley State. The Norse shot just 3-for-21 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range and were 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) at the free-throw line.

Angela Healy and Cassie Brannen each scored 11 points to lead NKU. Healy, who averages 17.2 points and a GLVC-leading 10.5 rebounds per game, enters this weekend with 925 career points. She is looking to become just the 24th player in Norse history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Healy also ranks No. 2 in the GLVC in free-throw shooting at .900.

Brannen, who leads the GLVC in field-goal percentage (.605), averages 14.0 ppg and now has 112 blocked shots in her career. She needs 21 blocks to pass Janet Brungs (132 blocked shots) and become NKU’s all-time career leader. Brannen also has 608 career points with the Norse.

IN A ZONE: NKU can probably expect to see plenty of zone defenses employed the remainder of the season, given the Norse rank 13th out of 14 teams in the GLVC in 3-point shooting (28.1 percent). In its last two games, NKU is a combined 6-for-33 (18.2 percent) from 3-point range.

ABOUT ROCKHURST: The Lady Hawks are 4-5 overall, 0-2 in the GLVC. Rockhurst, however, has won three straight games entering Thursday. Julie Cook leads Rockhurst in scoring at 13.6 ppg, while teammate Amy Hake is scoring 13.0 ppg.

---Cassie Brannen looks for a shot against Drury in last season’s GLVC Tournament semifinals. Drury prevailed by a 68-57 score in Roberts Stadium, ending NKU’s hopes of repeating as GLVC Tournament champion.

THE LAST TIME AGAINST ROCKHURST: On Feb. 3, 2007, NKU jumped out to a 45-17 halftime lead and coasted to a 93-41 win at Kansas City, Mo. Brittany Winner scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead NKU. Cassie Brannen added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Norse. Angela Healy recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Highlands High School graduate also dished out four assists and collected two steals.

Karyn Creager added nine points and two assists for the Norse, who held Rockhurst to 25.9 percent shooting from the field and finished with a 52-35 rebounding advantage. Nicole Chiodi and Katie Butler each finished with eight points, while teammates Karmen Graham and Karen Brackman netted six points apiece.

ABOUT DRURY: The Lady Panthers, the defending regional champions, are 9-1 overall, 1-1 in the GLVC. Drury will visit Bellarmine on Thursday before playing NKU.

Melanie Oliver leads Drury in scoring (11.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg). Molly Carter averages 11.1 ppg for the Lady Panthers, while teammate Becky Flippin is scoring 10.2 ppg.

THE LAST TIME AGAINST DRURY: On March 3, 2007, in the semifinals of the GLVC Tournament at Evansville, Ind., Molly Carter netted 18 of her game-high 27 points in the first half and Drury knocked off defending GLVC champion NKU by a 68-57 score in Roberts Stadium.

Carter was 7-for-11 from the field and hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half to ignite the Lady Panthers, and Drury took a 34-31 lead at the break. NKU made just 39.1 percent of its shots from the field in the first half, while Drury connected on 51.9 percent.

In the second half, NKU went cold from the field and could not make open shots. The Norse shot 9-for-33 from the floor, including 3-for-13 from 3-point range. Angela Healy and Karyn Creager each scored 13 points to lead NKU. Brittany Winner added 11 points and a team-leading nine rebounds for the Norse, who earlier in the season had knocked off Drury at Springfield, Mo.

J.J. JUMPER VISITS NKU: J.J. Jumper, the official mascot of the NCAA, will appear at the NKU/Drury doubleheader this Saturday. J.J. Jumper will perform throughout both games as part of the NCAA’s commitment to promote youth basketball participation and sportsmanship.