Oct. 22, 2001
NKU RETURNS TALENTED SQUAD IN 2001-02
Norse hope to remain among nations elite this season
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Lets see. Shes a two-time Kodak NCAA Division II All-American, not to mention the 2000-01 Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year.
Also included on her impressive resume is a national championship in 2000, and two Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year honors.
Shes been named GLVC Freshman of the Year, scored last-second baskets twice to lead her team to wins during the NCAA Tournament, and she needs just 174 points to become Northern Kentucky Universitys all-time leading scorer.
She is also a three-time member of the GLVC All-Academic Team, and last season she was selected to the GTE District IV All-Academic Team.
Is there anything else we need to know regarding NKUs Michelle Cottrell?
NKU head coach Nancy Winstel thinks there is one other factor that statistics, awards and press clippings do not tell about Cottrell.
You will not find an individual who plays with more intensity and who is more determined to win than Michelle Cottrell, said Winstel, who guided the Norse to a 25-5 record last season.
We were thrilled last season when she was named the national Player of the Year. It says a great deal about Michelle, but Ive also learned that she is at her best when the game is on the line, and were glad to have her for one more year.
Cottrell, who was named the MVP of the 2000 NCAA Division II Elite Eight after leading NKU to its first-ever national title, is the only starter returning to the Norse lineup. She averaged 17.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season and enters her final year with 1,710 career points.
Cottrell also ranked No. 6 nationally in field goal percentage at 62.1 percent last season, and she made 80.5 percent of her free throws.
Junior forward Kristin Polosky could claim a starting position this season after averaging 5.5 ppg last year. Polosky runs the floor well and is also an excellent three-point shooter (18 of 34 last season).
Junior forward Amy Mobley averaged 7.4 ppg, 5.1 rebounds and led the team with 18 blocked shots a year ago. Mobley will also contend for a starting position in the frontcourt. Senior center Dana Schubeler averaged 2.7 ppg and could be a key this season, and sophomore Emily Phillips adds depth to the inside attack.
Newcomer Jessica Brock, a transfer from Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, could also be a factor. Brock saw action in 10 games at IPFW last season and averaged 8.9 points and 5.3 rebounds. Freshman Connie Myers, a 5-10 forward, will also challenge for playing time.
I like the returning inside players we have, and they will have to step up because we lost Julie Cowens and Jessica Jenson, Winstel said, noting two key seniors who graduated from last seasons team.
Kristin has the ability to really be an excellent offensive player, and Amy is a very solid rebounder with experience. Dana has had a year to get used to our system, and she could be an important player this season. Emily Phillips has worked extremely hard to improve her game, and she could surprise people this year. Jessica Brock adds some versatility to our team, and Connie Myers is a very strong inside player.
In the backcourt, NKU must replace the starting guard tandem of Michele Tuchfarber (10.8 ppg) and Heather Livingstone (12.1 ppg, 140 assists).
NKU does welcome back junior guard Bridget Flanagan, who averaged 7.8 ppg and made 37 of 87 three-point attempts last season. The Norse also return senior point guard Suzie Smith, who averaged 4.3 ppg and had 36 assists.
A pair of newcomers - transfer Mandy Sterling and freshman Elizabeth Burrows - will contend for significant playing time at guard.
Sterling, a 5-foot-9 sophomore who played at Barry (Fla.) University last season, averaged 7.9 ppg for the Buccaneers. She also made 46 of 131 three-point attempts and scored 14 points in the NCAA Division II Tournament against Delta State University.
Burrows is a highly-regarded recruit from Eastern Brown (Ohio) High School who can play either guard position. Burrows scored more than 1,000 career points at Eastern Brown and led the Warriors to the Ohio Division III state finals as a senior.
We graduated a pair of outstanding guards who meant a great deal to this program, but Im excited about the players we have returning and the newcomers, Winstel said. Bridget and Suzie give us a lot of experience, and they will do a good job. Mandy Sterling had a good year playing for Barry, and she is going to be an outstanding player.
Of course, we were very excited to sign Elizabeth Burrows, and I think she has the ability to be a tremendous player at NKU. We did lose two very good players in the backcourt, and it is going to be interesting to see how everything develops.
NKUs schedule is again demanding. The Norse will play 2001 NCAA Division II Elite Eight participant University of Southern Indiana twice, and NKU could also face perennial powerhouse Delta State University - another Elite Eight team in 2001 - during the second annual Community Recorder Classic in December.
NKU shared the GLVC regular-season championship with Southern Indiana a year ago with a 17-3 record, but the Lady Eagles ended the Norses two-year reign as GLVC Tournament champions with a 95-73 victory in the title game.