Oct. 30, 2002
NKU BEGINS POST-COTTRELL ERA
Norse women feature outstanding senior trio in 2002-03
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Its never easy for basketball coaches to say farewell to outstanding seniors. Its especially tough when a particular senior was a three-time All-American, the schools career scoring leader and possibly the best player in the history of the program.
Thats what Northern Kentucky University womens basketball head coach Nancy Winstel is facing in 2002-03, as the Norse begin life on the court after the Michelle Cottrell Era. Cottrell, who was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year three times, finished her career with 2,241 points - the most in NKU history - and is among three missing starters this season.
Winstel - beginning her 20th year as the Norse head coach - knows it will be a challenge to replace Cottrell, who averaged 19.7 points and 8.9 rebounds last season. Winstel also realizes there is a great deal of talent returning to the NKU roster, not to mention a strong recruiting class.
You dont find players like Michelle Cottrell very often, and were going to miss her, Winstel said. But we also lost our point guard (Suzie Smith) and a good post player (Dana Schubeler) who were keys to our success last season.
Winstel guided NKU to a 26-7 record last season, and the Norse advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the third time in four years. NKU also captured the GLVC regular-season championship and finished with a No. 5 national ranking in the Division II poll.
We do return some very good players for this season, and we added several recruits that are going to help us, Winstel said. We have a very demanding schedule right from the start, and we need to come together as a team quickly.
NKU will feature senior guard Bridget Flanagan, who averaged 12.8 ppg last season. Flanagan, a graduate of Mercy High School in Cincinnati, connected on a school-record 81 three-point shots a year ago and earned second team All-GLVC honors.
Bridget is an extremely hard worker, and her game has improved so much since she arrived as a freshman, Winstel said. She is an outstanding shooter, and Bridget had some huge games for us last season in big situations.
Sophomore guard Elizabeth Burrows returns after averaging 2.9 ppg as a freshman. Burrows had 58 assists last season and also recorded 20 steals. Junior guard Mandy Sterling, who saw action in just 17 games last season after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in her leg, could be a major factor if healthy.
Two years ago, Sterling averaged 7.9 points per game at Barry (Fla.) University. She made 46 of 131 three-point attempts that season and scored 14 points in the NCAA Division II Tournament against Delta State. Sterling also scored in double figures in her final three games for Barry.
Elizabeth has a year of experience at the college level now, and she has the ability to really help us this season, Winstel said. She has really improved, and Elizabeth has the ability to be a very good player. Mandy Sterling is a great shooter, and she could be a key player.
Junior forward/guard Jessica Brock (3.2 ppg) will provide the Norse with experience. A year ago, Brock had 20 assists, eight blocked shots and 12 steals.
Jessica is a very solid, dependable player, and she did a great job for us last season, Winstel said. She is extremely versatile, and she will play in the backcourt and at forward this season.
NKU added walk-on guard Lindsay Newton this fall. Newton also plays on the NKU womens golf team.
The NKU inside attack will feature senior forward Amy Mobley, who averaged 11.5 ppg and 6.4 rebounds last season. Mobley led NKU with 107 assists and also recorded a team-high 25 blocked shots. She also had six double-doubles a year ago.
Senior forward Kristin Polosky also returns after averaging 9.4 ppg and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Polosky ranked No. 2 on the team with 101 assists and 24 blocked shots.
Were really fortunate to have experienced players like Amy and Kristin, and both of them have helped us win a number of games the past three years, Winstel said. At times last season, Amy was unstoppable, and I think she is going to have a fine senior year. Kristin is capable of having a tremendous season, too, and she is certainly a key to any success we might have this year.
Sophomore Connie Myers averaged 5.0 ppg before suffering a season-ending knee injury in December, and she could be a key in 2002-03. Myers, a tough inside performer, also averaged 3.5 rebounds in eight games. She scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed a career-best nine rebounds against Alabama-Huntsville in her final game of last season.
Connie was really starting to play well before the injury last season, but she has worked hard to rehab the knee and we expect her to be a key this year, Winstel said. She is a very tough inside player, and Connie is going to help us.
Junior center Emily Phillips averaged 1.8 ppg and also returns this season. The Norse landed 6-2 center Lindsey Marx, who will add depth to the frontcourt this season.
Emily had some big games last season, and she is another player who is always working to get better, Winstel said. Lindsey Marx has a lot of potential, and she could help our inside game.
Freshman forward Sharell Snardon averaged 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds as a senior at Louisville Male High School, and she is expected to contribute immediately. Snardon was named to the Kentucky All-Star Team last spring and scored the winning basket against the Indiana All-Stars in the game played at Owensboro, Ky.
We lost two good inside players from last season, so there is definitely an opportunity for Sharell to help us this year, Winstel said. She is a very good inside player.
NKU is the preseason favorite in the GLVC coaches poll. The Norse will begin the season Nov. 22 against Grand Valley State University in a game that will be played at Findlay, Ohio.
The Norse will face the University of Findlay in a road game on Nov. 23, and return home Nov. 30 to open GLVC play against Quincy University in Regents Hall.