Keep the wins coming

Four players scored in double figures for the Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball team as they rolled past archrival Bellarmine 76-58 on Jan. 23.

Brandi Rayburn led the offensive onslaught with 21 points — 11 of which came in the first half — and pulled down six rebounds. Casse Mogan poured in 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds of her own. Sadie Bowling scored 14 points and Rachel Lantry added 13 to assist the Norse to their fourth-straight win.

The game started out closely with the Norse holding a narrow 11-10 lead in the opening minutes. Then NKU went on an 8-0 run and never looked back, compiling a number of similar runs for the remainder of the game.

“I felt like the flow of the game really helped with the kind of shots we were getting,” said Rayburn, a senior forward. “We all started getting into rhythm and getting into the fl ow of the game, which made it easier to score.”

The turnover category was in favor of the Norse this game as they tied their season low of eight and cut their season average of 16 per game in half.

“Turnovers were one of the things we wanted to cut down on in this game because we did have a lot of turnovers on Wednesday,” Rayburn said.

“We wanted to take care of the ball this game and get our shots and everyone contributed and we got the shots that we get in our offense.”

The protection of the ball led to an efficient offense as the Norse shot 47 percent from the field for the game and 33 percent from behind the arc. The Norse also took advantage of their free throw opportunities, sinking 81 percent of their 16 attempts.

“When you don’t turn the ball over, you get shots,” coach Nancy Winstel said. “Thursday, we turned the ball over 23 times and when you turn the ball over, you don’t get shots. So our goal is to get shots. If you get shots, a lot of the times there’s a good chance they’ll go in.

“When you hit a few you gain a lot of confidence, we hit some early and that gave us confidence, and it’s kind of contagious. It’s like the flu — one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. One person scores, everybody scores. And I thought that scoring was contagious today.”

Bellarmine (11-8, Great Lakes Valley Conference 4-6) relied on the performance of Brittany Edelen, a Division I transfer from the University of Kentucky, as she led the Knights with 22 points and eight rebounds. Edelen leads the Great Lakes Valley Conference in blocked shots at just over two per game, and she met that average against NKU.

The Norse improved to 13-6 overall with a GLVC record of 7-3, which places them third in the GLVC East Division and just one game behind the University of Southern Indiana for second place. NKU’s 62-60 win against Wisconsin-Parkside on Jan. 16 was the first of their current four-game win streak.

Their next win came on the road against Maryville on Jan. 18. It was a more comfortable win for the Norse as they handled the Saints 66-53.

The following win came against Kentucky Wesleyan on Jan. 21 as the Norse topped the Panthers 51- 42. The Norse will look to continue their win streak on Jan. 28 on the road against Illinois- Springfield, who is in its first season in the GLVC.

“We’re becoming not so young — we’ve been together for a while now,” Winstel said.

Story by Drew Laskey