Critical shot secures victory


HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – It was only fitting that Karmen Graham took the biggest shot of the game – and possibly, the season – on Jan. 22 for Northern Kentucky University.

Wisconsin-Parkside held a 50-49 lead in the final 15 seconds when Graham received the ball in the lane, rose above two defenders and released a 10-foot jumper. Graham’s shot found the bottom of the net to give NKU a 51-50 advantage with 10.9 seconds left.

After a Wisconsin-Parkside timeout, Carrie Weir drove into the lane and attempted a short jumper that was contested closely by NKU’s Karyn Creager. Weir’s shot was off target and rebounded by Elizabeth Burrows, who was fouled with 3.4 seconds on the clock.

Burrows made both free throws to give NKU a 53-50 lead. Wisconsin-Parkside had a final chance to send the game into overtime, but Weir’s three-point attempt hit the front of the rim at the buzzer. As the ball hit the court, NKU celebrated its sixth consecutive victory.

“It was a great win. I thought it was a struggle, but they are just so good, and they are just so experienced,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “They’re tough. I’ll tell you right now, they are the best team we’ve played so far in the conference.

“At the end, I thought our seniors really played. That steal by Connie (Myers) was huge. (Elizabeth Burrows) made those two free throws at the end, and (Karmen Graham) hit the basket that was huge.”

Graham was a major reason the Norse won and improved to 10-7 overall, 8-3 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The sophomore post player scored 20 points and was 8-for-11 from the field. She also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots as the Norse took sole possession of second place in the GLVC.

“We just tried to run an offense, and it just ended up that I had the shot, which I think if I would have turned the other way, I would have been wide open,” Graham said of her winning shot.

Prior to Graham’s winning shot, Wisconsin-Parkside had the ball and a chance to take a three-point lead. Myers, however, came up with a steal to set up Graham’s last-second heroics. Myers’ steal came after she missed two free throws with 47 seconds left in the game and her team trailing by one point (50-49).

“I think at the end of the game, we just knew that it was our game,” said Burrows, who finished with seven points, five assists and six rebounds. “Like Connie said, after she missed those two free throws, she knew she was going to have to get that steal.”

Myers had 10 points and 10 rebounds for NKU, which won the battle of the boards by a 35-27 margin. Angela Healy came off the bench and added six points, two blocks and four rebounds for the Norse, who rejected six Wisconsin-Parkside shots.

“I thought we played pretty well. Our biggest thing was our defense,” Graham said. “I think our defense was way more important than our offense.”

Sammy Kromm led Wisconsin-Parkside (14-8, 8-4 GLVC) with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Weir and Carrie Schieve each added 13 points for the Rangers, who knocked off NKU in Regents Hall last season by a 57-45 score.

“She’s really a good player. She makes the most out of her post ability, and she’s just tough,” Winstel said of Kromm. “But, what about Karmen Graham? People are really relying on Connie and double-teaming Connie, and (Graham) is starting to figure that out, and she is able to do more things. It’s nice to have that one-two punch.”

NKU is ranked eighth in the latest NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region poll, while Wisconsin-Parkside is sixth. The top eight teams in those rankings will advance to the NCAA Division II Tournament in March.

*Article by Sports Information