Nov. 17, 2003
NKU OPENS AGAINST NOVA SOUTHEASTERN
Norse play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Holiday Isle Classic
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University womens basketball team will open the 2003-04 season this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against Nova Southeastern (Fla.) University in the first round of the Holiday Isle Classic in Tavernier, Fla.
Defending NCAA Division II national champion South Dakota State University will meet the University of Nebraska-Kearney in the other first-round game. The consolation game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, with the championship contest to follow at 9 p.m.
Both NKU games this weekend can be heard live on WTSJ (1050 AM).
NKU, which posted a 26-8 record en route to the NCAA Division II national championship game last season, returns two starters and five letterwinners in 2003-04. The Norse are ranked No. 10 nationally in the WBCA Division II preseason poll.
Two juniors, point guard Elizabeth Burrows and forward Connie Myers, return to the starting lineup. Burrows dished out 92 assists in her first season as the starting point guard and averaged 5.5 points per game. She also made 78.6 percent of her free throws.
Myers averaged 11.3 ppg and connected on 55.1 percent of her shots from the field. The 5-foot-10 junior also averaged 5.3 rebounds per game.
SOPHOMORE SENSATION: Sophomore forward/center Sharell Snardon (9.9 ppg) emerged as one of the top freshmen in the nation by the end of last season, as evidenced by the fact she was named All-Tournament at the GLVC Tournament, the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional and the Elite Eight.
A powerful rebounder and inside scorer, Snardons improvement from the start of the year to the final game was a key to the Norse's NCAA Tournament run.
PLENTY OF POINTS TO REPLACE: NKU must replace graduated seniors Bridget Flanagan, Amy Mobley and Kristin Polosky - a trio that combined for 3,647 career points. Flanagan also finished her career as NKUs all-time leader in three-point field goals with 253. Mobley finished with 812 career rebounds, which ranks No. 6 in Norse history.
NEWCOMERS TO MAKE IMPACT: Four freshmen - Karyn Creager, Karmen Graham, Quanita Hailey and Betsey Clark - could play key roles in 2003-04. Creager, a 5-11 guard/forward, scored 1,379 career points at Patrick Henry High School and earned Ohio Division III All-State honors as a senior. Graham, a 6-1 post player, averaged 14.1 points as a senior at Kettering Fairmont High School and should give NKU a solid inside scorer.
Hailey was one of Cincinnatis top prep players as a senior two years ago at Colerain High School. She averaged 16.7 ppg as a senior. Clark earned All-City honors at McNicholas High School in Cincinnati last year after averaging 13.3 ppg.
The Norse also add talented transfers Nikki Perkins (Cleveland State), Sarah Woods (Presbyterian) and Julie Robbins (Augusta State) to the roster. Perkins is a quick point guard who started for Cleveland State, and she is expected to make immediate contributions.
Woods, a 5-9 forward and an excellent shooter, averaged 4.5 ppg last season at Presbyterian. Robbins played in 29 games at Augusta State and averaged 5.4 ppg.
ABOUT NOVA SOUTHEASTERN: The Knights, provisional members of the NCAA Division II Sunshine State Conference, posted a 12-15 record last season and return one starter from that team.
Nova Southeasterns lone returning starter is 6-2 center Jessie Pate, who averaged 15.8 ppg and 9.1 rpg last season. The Knights also add transfer guard Marvelous Washington to the lineup.
COMMON OPPONENT LAST YEAR: A year ago, Nova Southeastern defeated Great Lakes Valley Conference member Bellarmine University by a 68-66 score.
POSSIBLE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP REMATCH: If NKU and South Dakota State both win in the first round, they will meet in the Holiday Isle Classic championship game at 9 p.m. Saturday. Last season, those two teams played for the NCAA Division II national championship at St. Joseph, Mo., and the Jackrabbits defeated the Norse, 65-50.
NKU and South Dakota State also met in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight two years ago at Rochester, Minn., and the Jackrabbits rallied for a 68-67 win over the Norse.