March 7, 2004

NKU RECEIVES NCAA TOURNAMENT BERTH

Norse to meet top-seeded Quincy this Friday night

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball team pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the season Sunday night, and the Norse did not even play a game to accomplish the feat.

Then how did NKU do it? When the NCAA Division II Tournament pairings were announced Sunday night, NKU was expected to be left out of the event for the first time since 1998. Instead, the Norse received their sixth consecutive berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament as the No. 8 seed in the Great Lakes Regional at Quincy, Ill.

“I really didn’t think we had a chance to get a bid, but we’re excited and thrilled about the opportunity,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “We thought we were done after losing in our conference tournament, but I know our players are glad to get another chance in the NCAA Tournament.”

NKU (17-10) will meet top-seeded Quincy University (26-4) this Friday at 6:30 p.m. eastern time in the first round. The Norse lost twice to Quincy during the regular season.

NKU was ranked No. 9 in the last week’s NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region poll, and only the top eight teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Norse later dropped a 67-58 decision to the University of Indianapolis in the first game of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, and virtually everyone thought NKU’s season was over.

Until Sunday night, when the NCAA pairings were released.

One NKU player, junior forward Connie Myers, had gone to Florida for spring break assuming the Norse would not receive a bid. Myers, however, will have to continue her spring break at Quincy, Ill.

“She was surprised to hear it, just like the rest of us,” Winstel said of Myers.

NKU is the two-time defending champion of the Great Lakes Region, and the Norse have advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight four times in the past five years. Last season, NKU finished as national runner-up at St. Joseph, Mo.


NCAA II Great Lakes Regional

(at Quincy, Ill.)

Friday, March 12

#3 Ferris State (21-9) vs. #6 Ashland (22-7), 1 p.m.

#2 Lake Superior State (26-3) vs. #7 Southern Indiana (20-9), 3:30 p.m.

#1 Quincy (26-4) vs. #8 Northern Kentucky (17-10), 6:30 p.m.

#4 Indianapolis (22-8) vs. #5 Bellarmine (21-8), 9 p.m.

 

Saturday, March 13

Lake Superior State/Southern Indiana winner vs.Ferris State/Ashland winner, 6 p.m.

Quincy/Northern Kentucky winner vs. Indianapolis/Bellarmine winner, 8:30 p.m.

 

Monday, March 15

Championship game, 8 p.m.

Nancy Winstel