Sweet home Northern Kentucky

The Northern Kentucky University Women’s Basketball team couldn’t have come home at a better time as the Norse knocked off Lewis 73-42, Jan. 31 and Wisconsin-Parkside 73-55, Feb. 2 at Regents Hall.

The Norse bounced back from last week’s losing road trip in Missouri with a blowout show over the Flyers, due to the performances of junior forward Cassie Brannen and senior center Angela Healy.

Brannen scored 20 points in the game and Healy notched a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds for NKU.

The Norse closed the game with a 21-1 run in the last 7:41 of the game to defeat Lewis.

“I really felt we played great on defense,” head coach Nancy Winstel said. “I was really happy with our efforts in the second half, as we established our offense and made some shots.”

The win snapped the two-game losing streak that had cost NKU a Top 25 ranking in the Division II Poll.

“Last weekend we kept playing defense and not really playing an overall game,” Winstel said. “We are very capable of moving the ball and playing well.”

After coming back from the road trip, Winstel had the team sit down and think about their performance.

“Words can’t describe how it feels to come back home and get these wins,” Winstel said. “We had to take a hard look at ourselves when we got back from the road. Everyone took a hard look at themselves individually and as a team.

“As a coach you begin to question everything from the players, the team, even your coaching staff. I am impressed at how we turned it around, ” Winstel said.

The Norse shot 55.1 percent from the field for the game – including 61.7 percent in the second half. The Flyers shot 30.6 percent for the game and only 15.4 percent in the second half.

“When you make shots it is an easy game,” Winstel said. “It’s when you miss shots that the game is like brain surgery.”

The Norse win was their 11th straight over the Flyers at Regents Hall.

In the second game, Healy continued her dominance on the court. She recorded her second consecutive double-double, tying her career-high in points with 24 and getting 11 rebounds against the Rangers.

“We try to get touches to both Cassie (Brannen) and Angela (Healy),” Winstel said. “We like to attract attention on the inside, then go to the outside and attack.”

Healy has 12 double-doubles on the season now.

Jessie Slack contributed for the Norse with 18 points, improving their record to 15-5 overall and 8-4 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Slack was perfect from the free-throw line, making all 10 attempts.

The win by NKU improved its all-time record to 22-5 over Wisconsin-Parkside.

Defense was key for the Norse as they held the Rangers to an abysmal 23.9 percent shooting. Wisconsin-Parkside made only 11 shots from the field, but held close to NKU by making 26-of-34 from the charity stripe.

“Our defense is a team defense,” Winstel said. “Our post does a good job and give credit Danyelle (Echoles). She goes out to guard the toughest player. She has been called upon to step up and her role on defense is uplifting.”

NKU plays host to Bellarmine for the 2008 Homecoming at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 9 in Regents Hall.