Lady Norse rally for win


For some, Feb. 26 featured just another afternoon basketball game at Regents Hall. For others, it was be the last time they would step onto the floor as a Northern Kentucky University basketball player. It was Senior Day for the Norse, and the 72-58 win over Missouri-St. Louis is one that will be in the minds of the seniors for years to come.

The seniors could have asked for a better start to the game when after five minutes of play the Norse found themselves on the losing end of a 10-4 run by the Riverwomen. Sophomore center Karmen Graham stepped up and nailed a huge three-point basket that ignited a 14-3 Norse run.

After a timeout by Missouri-St. Louis at 6:44 left in the first half, the score stood with NKU barely leading UMSL 18-17. After the timeout, the Riverwomen controlled the game, closing the half on a 21-6 run and putting them up 34-24.

The Riverwomen defense held the Norse to 36.8 percent field goal shooting and forced them into 11 turnovers that translated into 16 points.

“I was not happy at halftime, and I let [the team] know exactly how I felt,” said Coach Nancy Winstel.

However in the second half the Norse came out firing on all cylinders, starting with a 15-2 run. After Missouri-St. Louis took a brief 40-39 lead at 12:32 to go in the game, sophomore forward Brittany Winner hit a three-pointer and gave the Norse a 42-40 advantage. Winner’s three-point shot put the Norse ahead for good.

The Norse set the nets on fire in the second half shooting 76.2 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the free throw line. This offense outburst was led by senior forward Connie Myers, who also led all scorers with 17 points, nine of those coming from the free throw line where she went 9-9. Myers added four assists and a blocked shot to help the Norse improve to 16-11 overall and 13-7 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Brittany Winner scored 10 points and had three rebounds to accompany Myers. Graham was another key player who scored 11 points, had three blocked shots and hauled in five rebounds. Karyn Creager added 12 points to the win and went 2-3 from beyond the arch.

Freshman Angela Healy had five blocks, helping the Norse accumulate 10 blocks in the game. Senior Elizabeth Burrows dumped in six points, had five rebounds and five assists in her final game at Regents Hall.

NKU was a force to be reckoned with down low, outscoring the Riverwomen in the paint 30-12 and grabbing 27 rebounds. The game also proved how deep their bench is with all 10 players seeing at least five minutes in the game and having nine out of 10 players scoring.

After both teams cleared the court, the Norse came back out with Coach Nancy Winstel to honor their seniors: Myers, Burrows, Sarah Woods and Nikki Perkins.

“This may be the last game at home for these four young ladies, but we have a saying around here,” Winstel said, “and that is: Once a Lady Norse always a Lady Norse.”

Next up for the Norse is the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament in Evansville, Ind., at Roberts Stadium. The Norse are the fifth seed and will be facing off with fourth seeded Bellarmine.

During the regular season NKU and Bellarmine split their two games with each team winning at home.