Women Norse find home court advantage welcoming

The Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball team got back to its home roots for the first time in three weeks. The home atmosphere proved helpful as the Norse won their third game in a row, defeating the University of Wisconsin-Parkside 82-67 Thursday at Regents Hall.

“It was nice to get a win at home,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “We came in and got after it and the adrenaline gave us the advantage. We went about our business and we were motivated.”

NKU junior Amy Mobley added, “This was a really good win. We lost to Ferris State on the road and then got two big wins. This was a great feeling. It gave us confidence on our home court.”

Mobley was the high scorer of the night among both teams as she came up with a career-high 22 points, shooting 9 for 11 from the field. She was glad to come back and play in front of her home crowd. It gave her more confidence when she stepped out on the court.

“I was kind of nervous before the game but I just went out to play and have fun. I was more relaxed,” Mobley said.

As for the game, the Rangers kept it fairly close throughout the first half with the Norse. Wisconsin-Parkside began the game with a 7-4 lead, and after an 11-1 NKU run, giving them an eight-point lead, the Rangers cut the lead to two points with six minutes left in the half.

The Norse eventually went on a 19-9 run to take a 12-point lead at the half. NKU led 39-27 at the break as the team shot 52 percent from the field (14 for 27). Wisconsin-Parkside shot only 38 percent in the first half.

“We’re playing better than we were playing,” Winstel said. “The new players are contributing. We’re playing some people and getting a little more depth. Also, our top six are more consistent.”

Despite the close contest in the first half, NKU did not give in. The Norse went on an early 15-6 run to begin the second half, stretching their lead to 21 points. That was all NKU needed as the team never looked back in cruising to the victory.

“Our defensive intensity was better than it was all year,” Winstel said. “It paid off on the offensive end. We passed the ball more and knocked down some shots. We’re improving.”

The Norse won the game with the help of senior Michelle Cottrell, who recorded her 44th career double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Also, junior Kristin Polosky scored 12 points and senior Dana Schubeler scored 10 points on 5 for 9 shooting. Michele Pickering led the way for the Rangers with 20 points and Sammy Kromm added 14 points.

With the win, NKU improved to 11-2 on the year, including a perfect 8-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

With a tough conference schedule coming up, including games with Bellarmine College, University of Southern Indiana and Lewis University, a fast start in the GLVC is usually always a blessing.

“We knew we can do it,” Mobley said. “We just have to play our best and work hard. We just do what we need to do.”

The Norse, ranked No. 3 in the NCAA Division II poll, are now 72-7 in conference games over the last four seasons.