Chiodi is one of three returning NKU starters from last season’s
21-8 team. Chiodi dished out a team-leading 98 assists and
averaged 6.9 points per game as a junior and is entering her
third year as the Norse’s starting point guard.
Ky. - When Nancy Winstel was informed the Great Lakes Valley Conference
preseason poll had her Northern Kentucky University women’s
basketball team picked second in the East Division, the Norse head
coach rolled her eyes and simply laughed.
the graduation losses we had, I’m stunned we are picked second,
in one way,” Winstel said, “but on the other hand, several
teams in our division had a lot of good seniors, too, so maybe it
isn’t that big of a surprise.
they voted us second is a tribute to our program, because sometimes
they feel like you don’t sell NKU short. Last year, we really
thought we could go to the Elite Eight and we ended up losing in
the first round. So you never know.”
A season that
began with so many expectations ended suddenly - and in shocking
fashion - for NKU last March in the first round of the NCAA Division
II Tournament. The Norse dropped a 70-69 decision to Ferris State
in that opening-round game that produced a nightmarish ending.
NKU had taken
a 69-68 lead and appeared to have won the game when Ferris State
missed a rushed shot in the final seconds. A loose ball, however,
somehow found its way into the hands of a Ferris State player who
converted a layup as the buzzer sounded to end NKU’s season
with a 21-8 record.
must be replaced from that squad, including 1,000-point scorers
Karmen Graham and Karyn Creager. Also missing is All-GLVC and All-Region
performer Brittany Winner (11.3 points per game), post player Katie
Butler and guard Betsey Clark.
NKU does return
three starters, including a pair of post players who earned All-GLVC
honors. The Norse also brought in an impressive group of newcomers
who should provide immediate help this season.
Angela Healy averaged 11.3 ppg and a team-leading 6.9 rebounds last
season. A tremendous passer in the post, the 6-foot-1 Healy is expected
to be one of the top players in the GLVC.
is junior post player Cassie Brannen, who led the GLVC in field-goal
percentage (.589) and set an NKU record by blocking 71 shots. The
6-1 Brannen also rejected a school-record 12 shots in one game last
like to think I may have the best two post players in the conference
with Angela and Cassie,” Winstel said. “That’s
a nice 1-2 punch inside, and with Nicole Chiodi returning for her
third year as our starting point guard, that’s our big three
we will rely on this season.”
6.9 ppg and dished out a team-leading 98 assists. She also averaged
4.6 rebounds and added 25 steals as a junior. Winstel expects a
great deal from Chiodi and Healy, the team’s only seniors.
center Angela Healy is one of the top returning post players
in the nation. She averaged 11.3 ppg last season and a team-leading
6.9 rebounds as the Norse posted a 21-8 record. The 6-foot-1
Healy also earned a spot on the All-GLVC second team in 2006-07.
past three years, Nicole and Angela were the followers because we
had such strong leadership. Now, they see themselves in the role
of leaders for this team, and they are really embracing the opportunity,”
Winstel said. “Nicole has worked very hard this summer on
all aspects of her game.
tell Nicole and Angela both have this extreme focus because they
are seniors. They also understand our program, how we do things,
and I’m glad to have those two as our leaders.”
The Norse also
welcome back Karen Brackman, Danyelle Echoles and Rachel Lantry,
a trio of letterwinners who could play major roles this season.
Brackman, an athletic 5-9 wing player, saw action in 23 games and
averaged 3.0 ppg. Echoles, a 5-6 shooting guard, played in 18 games
and shot 52.4 percent from the field. Lantry, a 5-10 sophomore shooting
guard, saw limited playing time in 17 games.
Karen Brackman is poised to step in and help us at the wing position,
because we lost some very good players,” Winstel said. “Danyelle
Echoles and Rachel Lantry will also see significant playing time
at that position. All three of those players are going to help us
A newcomer who
figures to make an immediate impact is 5-10 guard Jessie Slack,
a Division I transfer from East Carolina. Slack averaged 6.7 ppg
last season as East Carolina won the Conference USA championship
and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
is a tremendous addition to our team because of her versatility
and experience,” Winstel said. “She can play either
the two or three position, and we think she is really going to step
in and do a great job.”
- point guard Diondra Holliday, post player Kendra Caldwell and
guard Rita Stefán - could also contribute this season. Holliday,
a graduate of Clark Montessori in Cincinnati, averaged 18.1 points
per game as a senior. She was named Southwest Ohio Public League
Player of the Year three times and finished as Clark Montessori’s
all-time leading scorer with 1,365 career points.
some young players, but I like our athleticism and the way they
are working,” Winstel said. “Diondra is a very quick
guard who can score, and Rita is a good athlete who is very good
at going to the basket. Kendra is learning our system, and we think
she is going to help us inside.”
picked by the coaches to win the GLVC East, followed by NKU and
Kentucky Wesleyan in the top three of the poll. Defending regional
champion Drury is the choice to win the GLVC West.
NKU plays an
exhibition game at Cincinnati on Nov. 1, and the Norse begin the
regular season Nov. 15 with a home game against Brescia.
The NKU basketball
teams will say farewell to Regents Hall on Feb. 16, when Indianapolis
visits for a GLVC doubleheader. The Norse will move into their new
on-campus home, The Bank of Kentucky Center, beginning in 2008-09.