Brannen rejects the shot of South Dakota’s Bridget Yoerger
during the NCAA Division II national championship game last
season. Brannen led NKU with 75 blocked shots in 2007-08.
Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball
team begins defense of its NCAA Division II national championship
Nov. 20 when Wayne State (Mich.) visits for the inaugural regular-season
game in The Bank of Kentucky Center.
NKU, which captured
the NCAA Division II national championship in March at Kearney,
Neb., also plays host to Mercyhurst (Pa.) on Nov. 24. The Norse
begin defense of their Great Lakes Valley Conference East title
on Dec. 4 with a road game at Indianapolis.
the regular season, NKU will play exhibition games against Cincinnati
(Nov. 1) and Louisville (Nov. 8). The Norse’s Nov. 8 contest
against Louisville will be played in The Bank of Kentucky Center
as part of a men’s/women’s exhibition doubleheader in
the first-ever basketball games in NKU’s new facility.
with a 26-10 record last season and dropped a 78-74 decision to
North Carolina in the NCAA Division I Tournament regional semifinals.
The Cardinals welcome back All-America forward Angel McCoughtry,
who averaged 23.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season.
off by playing two exhibition games against Big East schools, and
everyone will tell you that’s one of the best conferences
in the nation,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “Our
girls really enjoyed going over and playing against UC last season
in the exhibition. They beat us last year, and I expect them to
be very good this season.”
will be ranked in the top 25 nationally in the preseason poll,”
Winstel added. “Angel McCoughtry is an All-American for Louisville,
and she is going to play in the WNBA one day. She is a great player,
and they return a really good team. This is a great way to prepare
for the upcoming season. You find out what a team needs to work
on by playing exhibition games. As a coach, it’s a chance
to see what strengths and weaknesses your team has early in the
NKU plays at
Southern Illinois at Edwardsville on Dec. 6 in a non-conference
game. SIUE, a former member of the GLVC, reclassified to NCAA Division
I status after last season. NKU plays host to the Travel America
Classic Dec. 12-13, and the Norse face North Carolina-Pembroke in
the first round. NKU meets Carson-Newman in the finale of the two-day
visit The Bank of Kentucky Center on Dec. 30 to meet NKU in a key
regional game. The Eagles are members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference and posted a 19-11 record last season. Defending
GLVC Tournament champion Drury plays host to NKU on Jan. 17 in Springfield,
Caldwell (left) prepares to battle for a rebound against Missouri
S&T’s Tamara McCaskill (5) during the NCAA Division
II Great Lakes Region championship game last season.
back three starters and seven letterwinners in 2008-09. The Norse
feature senior post player Cassie Brannen, who averaged 13.6 points
and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. Brannen also blocked 75 shots
and was named the most outstanding player of the NCAA Division II
Great Lakes Region Tournament.
Jessie Slack also returns to the NKU lineup after averaging 13.3
ppg and knocking down a team-leading 68 shots from 3-point range
last season. Slack made 85 percent of her free throws and added
Danyelle Echoles (6.9 ppg) made 45 shots from 3-point range last
season and is back in 2008-09. Echoles also dished out 79 assists.
Senior guard/forward Karen Brackman also returns after averaging
5.1 ppg and finishing with 74 assists last season.
Rachel Lantry, sophomore point guard Diondra Holliday and sophomore
post player Kendra Caldwell all return and add experience for NKU.
The Norse also brought in an impressive recruiting class for 2008-09.
two great leaders in Angela Healy and Nicole Chiodi, and we are
going to have to find a way to replace them,” Winstel said.
“I think we have some very good players returning, and they
know what it takes to win big games.
into The Bank of Kentucky Center is going to be a great experience
for all of us. When you look up and see the new scoreboards in that
building, see the seating and what a beautiful facility it is, you
can’t help but get excited about playing in it.”
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