March 14, 2003

NKU DEFEATS GVSU, 69-63

Flanagan, Mobley lead Norse to NCAA Tournament win

INDIANAPOLIS - Defense and three-point shooting.

Northern Kentucky University combined those two elements Friday night to post a 69-63 win over Grand Valley State University in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament at Nicoson Hall. The Norse made 12-of-26 three-point attempts and hit five clutch free throws in the final minute to advance to Saturday’s 8 p.m. NCAA II Great Lakes Region semifinal against top-seeded University of Indianapolis (29-2).

But the Norse defense, especially against Grand Valley State leading scorer Julie Zeeff, had NKU head coach Nancy Winstel most pleased.

“We had two or three people defending her, because she really hurt us when we played them to start the year,” Winstel said of Zeeff, who scored 22 points to key the Lakers’ 63-62 victory over NKU on Nov. 22.

“Kristin Polosky, Sharell Snardon and Amy Mobley contained Zeeff very well,” she added, “and that’s one of the reasons we were able to win.”

Zeeff finished with 16 points, exactly her season average. NKU, though, kept Zeeff from attempting a free throw and prevented her from touching the ball late in the game.

Bridget Flanagan and Mobley each scored 17 points to lead NKU. Flanagan made five three-pointers - all in the second half - to pace the Norse three-point shooting barrage.

Grand Valley State (24-7) built a 10-point lead early in the first half behind the play of Laurie Rehmann (20 points). NKU rallied, however, and forged a 39-39 tie at halftime.

Flanagan made a trio of three-pointers to key a 14-7 run at the start of the second half as NKU built a 53-46 lead. Grand Valley State answered with a 10-0 spurt to regain the lead at 56-53 with 9:30 to go, but NKU responded with six straight points to take the lead for good on a three-pointer by Flanagan at the 8:33 mark.

Grand Valley State rallied and eventually cut the deficit to 62-60, but five free throws - three by Polosky and two by Snardon - in the final minute sealed the victory for NKU.

“Polosky and Snardon came up big late in the game, and we made the big plays at the right time,” Winstel said.

Snardon added 15 points and nine rebounds for NKU. The Norse won the rebounding battle by a 33-29 margin.

“If you had saw our last game (a 66-54 loss to Quincy last week), you might have questioned whether we would be able to win this one, but our kids played with a great deal of intensity and they deserved this win,” Winstel said. “We lost twice to Indianapolis during the regular season, so it is going to be a very tough game in the semifinals.”

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Amy Mobley