July 21, 2003
NKU WOMEN OPEN 2003-04 IN FLORIDA
Norse could face South Dakota State in rematch
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - For those who wanted a rematch between Northern Kentucky University and South Dakota State University in womens basketball, make plans to be in the Florida Keys in late November.
Thats because NKU and South Dakota State - the teams that squared off in the 2003 NCAA Division II national championship game at St. Joseph, Mo. - will both participate in the Holiday Isle Classic in Tavernier, Fla., to begin the 2003-04 season.
NKU will open against Nova Southeastern (Fla.) University on Nov. 20, while South Dakota State will meet the University of Nebraska-Kearney that same evening. If NKU and South Dakota State both win, they will meet in the tournament championship game on Nov. 22.
NKU head coach Nancy Winstel, however, said her teams immediate focus will be on Nova Southeastern.
I know for a fact that Nova Southeastern is a very good team, and that is going to be a tough opener, Winstel said. Nova Southeastern beat Bellarmine last season, and I know they have some outstanding players returning.
So does South Dakota State, which finished with a 32-3 record last season. The Jackrabbits return four starters from a team that posted a 65-50 win over NKU in the national championship game.
We are very familiar with South Dakota State since weve played them two straight years, and they have a great program, Winstel said. Its an honor to be in this tournament with such an outstanding field, and I just hope we are able to make a good showing that early in the season.
The Norse welcome back two starters and two key reserves from a team that posted a 26-8 record last season. NKU, which has reached the NCAA Division II Elite Eight four times in the past five years, will also feature an outstanding recruiting class in 2003-04.
NKU will play its home opener on Nov. 25 against the University of Findlay. The Norse begin Great Lakes Valley Conference play Nov. 29 when the University of Missouri-St. Louis visits Regents Hall.
Quincy University, which is expected to be the preseason favorite to win the GLVC, visits NKU on Dec. 1 for an early-season showdown. The Norse defeated Quincy three times in four meetings last season, including a 64-61 decision in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region championship game.
Quincy has almost everyone back, and they added (University of Southern Indiana transfer) Jessica Stuckman to their roster this season, Winstel said. Stuckman was a great player at Southern Indiana, and she is joining a very talented team at Quincy.
NKU will play host to the fourth annual Community Recorder Classic Dec. 12-13. The Norse will meet Kendall (Ill.) College in the first round, while the University of Missouri-Rolla will take on Fayetteville (N.C.) State University in the other game.
NKU will play at Wayne (Mich.) State University on Dec. 29 in an important regional game. Wayne State, a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament last season.
This is one of the toughest schedules we have ever played, and I just hope we are not overwhelmed by the early part, Winstel said. We are in somewhat of a rebuilding year with all of the new people, but we also have talent and this schedule will test them.
Junior forward Connie Myers averaged 11.3 points per game last season and is NKUs top returning scorer. The Norse also welcome back sophomore center/forward Sharell Snardon, who averaged 9.9 ppg and 5.9 rebounds per contest.
Snardon emerged as an inside force late in the season and earned All-Tournament honors at the GLVC Tournament, the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional and the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Sharell really made a name for herself during the latter part of the year, and she is going to be a key for us, Winstel said. Connie Myers also had a very good season, and were expecting her to be improved this year.
Junior point guard Elizabeth Burrows (5.5 ppg) returns to the backcourt. Senior forward/guard Jessica Brock (5.5 ppg) and senior center Emily Phillips (1.1 ppg) are also back and will challenge for playing time.
Four freshmen - Karyn Creager, Karmen Graham, Quanita Hailey and Betsey Clark - arrive at NKU with impressive prep credentials and figure to make an impact in 2003-04. The Norse also welcome in transfers Nikki Perkins and Sarah Woods to the roster.
The 2003-04 season marks the 30th year of competition for the NKU womens basketball program.