March 12, 2002
NKU FACES S. DAKOTA STATE IN ELITE 8
Norse (26-6) to play talented Jackrabbits (27-8) on March 20
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University womens basketball team enters the NCAA Division II Elite Eight with a 26-6 record after capturing the Great Lakes Region title with a 69-66 win over the University of Southern Indiana on March 9 at Evansville, Ind.
The Norse were seeded No. 3 in the Great Lakes Region and posted wins against Northern Michigan University, Lake Superior State University and top-seeded Southern Indiana to advance to the Elite Eight for the third time in the past four years.
NKU will meet South Dakota State University (27-8) at 7 p.m. (EST) on March 20 in the national quarterfinals. It will be the first meeting ever between NKU and South Dakota State in women's basketball. The Jackrabbits won the North Central Region to reach the Elite Eight.
The NCAA Division II national semifinals will be held March 21, and NKU would play at 9 p.m. (EST) if it advances. The NCAA Division II national championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. (EST) on March 23.
COTTRELL EARNS REGIONAL HONOR: NKU senior forward Michelle Cottrell was named the most outstanding player of the Great Lakes Region Tournament after scoring 31 points in the championship game against Southern Indiana. Cottrell, the three-time Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year, scored 23 points in the second half of that game as the Norse defeated the top-seeded Eagles.
Cottrell enters the Elite Eight averaging 19.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. She is also NKUs all-time career scoring leader with 2,212 points.
Cottrell has 48 career double-doubles, including 12 this season. She is shooting 61.8 percent from the field and 76.4 percent from the free throw line.
Cottrell earned Kodak All-America honors as a sophomore and junior, and she is looking to become a three-time All-American this season.
FAMILIAR TERRITORY FOR NKU: This will be NKUs third trip to the Elite Eight during the past four years, and five current players were key performers on the 2000 NCAA Division II national championship team.
Michelle Cottrell earned most outstanding player honors at the Elite Eight in 2000, while Bridget Flanagan, Amy Mobley, Kristin Polosky and Suzie Smith all played major roles on that team two years ago.
In 1999, NKU advanced to the national semifinals before losing to Arkansas Tech. Cottrell and Smith both were key players on that team.
MOBLEYS TOUCHDOWN PASSES: NKU junior forward Amy Mobleys ability to throw the deep pass against the Southern Indiana press was a key to the Norses 69-66 win over the Eagles in the Great Lakes Region title game. Mobleys accurate passes resulted in several breakaway baskets for NKU in that game, and she finished with six assists.
FLANAGAN FROM LONG RANGE: NKU junior guard Bridget Flanagan leads the GLVC in three-pointers made with 80 this season. She has made 80 of 196 three-point attempts, and her 40.8 percent shooting from three-point range ranks No. 3 in the GLVC.
SMITH ON A ROLL: NKU senior point guard Suzie Smith has played the best basketball of her career during the postseason. Smith earned All-Tournament honors at the GLVC Tournament in early March, and she was a key during NKUs 69-66 win over Southern Indiana in the Great Lakes Region finale.
After Southern Indiana had cut the NKU advantage to one point, Smith made a three-point shot with just more than a minute remaining to give the Norse a 64-60 lead.
For the season, Smith averages 8.4 points and 3.03 assists per game.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: NKU owns a 14-11 all-time record in the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Norse won the 2000 NCAA Division II national title at Pine Bluff, Ark., with victories over Saint Rose (N.Y.), Western Washington and North Dakota State. A year ago, NKU lost in the first round to Gannon (Pa.) at Houghton, Mich.
NKU AGAINST THE ELITE EIGHT FIELD: NKU is 1-0 all-time against Mars Hill. The Norse have never met any of the remaining teams that comprise this year's Elite Eight.
ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: The Jackrabbits, members of the North Central Conference, are 27-8 after defeating Southwest State, 62-50, to win the North Central Region title.
South Dakota State features junior forward Melissa Pater, who averages 15.7 ppg and 8.8 rebounds. Pater is also shooting 53.4 percent from the field and has 24 blocked shots. Sophomore guard/forward Brenda Davis averages 14.5 ppg and has made 73 three-point shots. Freshman forward Shannon Schlagel averages 11.9 ppg and 8.0 rebounds per contest, and freshman center Sarita DeBoer averages 10.4 ppg.
COMMON OPPONENT: South Dakota State played GLVC member Southern Indiana in November in the championship game of the Disney Division II Tipoff Classic, and the Jackrabbits defeated the Eagles by a 106-104 score in overtime.
That is the only common opponent for NKU and South Dakota State. NKU was 2-2 against Southern Indiana this season.
THE NKU LOWDOWN: This season, NKU is:
23-0 when leading at halftime.
3-6 when trailing at halftime.
13-0 when holding the opposition to 60 points or less.
1-0 when playing on Monday.
1-0 when playing on Tuesday.
2-0 when playing on Wednesday.
10-2 when playing on Thursday.
2-1 when playing on Friday.
10-3 when playing on Saturday.
Wednesday, March 20
NCAA Division II Elite Eight
Mayo Civic Center/Taylor Arena (5,300), Rochester, Minn.
Cal Poly Pomona (25-4) vs. Mars Hill (26-4), 2 p.m.
American International (28-3) vs. Glenville State (28-3), 4 p.m.
NKU (26-6) vs. South Dakota State (27-8), 7 p.m.
Florida Tech (27-5) vs. Southeastern Oklahoma (25-6), 9 p.m.
Thursday, March 21
NCAA Division II national semifinals
Cal Poly Pomona/Mars Hill winner vs. American International/Glenville State winner, 7 p.m.
NKU/South Dakota State winner vs. Florida Tech/Southeastern Oklahoma winner, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 23
NCAA Division II national championship game, 8 p.m.