Women’s team opens up Division I competition against local schools

The Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball team began its season Nov. 9 at Fifth Third Arena, losing to the University of Cincinnati Bearcats 49-31. The contest marked the beginning of the Division I and Dawn Plitzuweit eras.

The team struggled on the offensive side of the ball and showed that it will really be missing last season’s leading scorer and two-time All-American, Casse Mogan.

In the first half of the contest, the Norse came out strong and took an eight point lead thanks to offensive surges from sophomore center Kaitlyn Gerrety and freshman guard Christine Roush. The Bearcats went on an 11-0 run to end the half and reclaim the lead at 24-16. NKU was able to get within five points in the second half, but another 12-0 run from the Bearcats saw the game swing in favor of the home side.
The defensive performance from NKU was very satisfying as they held the Bearcats to a 29.4 shooting percentage but the Bearcats dominated the boards, outrebounding NKU 41-28. Coach Plitzuweit seemed happy with the effort shown by her team.

“I thought our kids did an incredible job defensively,” Plitzuweit said. “Unfortunately, our offense just wasn’t quite ready yet, but it will get there. You couldn’t ask for our kids to play any harder than they did. I was really proud of our effort.”

The next contest for the team saw yet another road trip up to Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio to take on the Miami University Redhawks Nov. 12. The Redhawks are a highly talented team and projected to win the Mid-American Conference. NKU gave a much better offensive performance, but a late run by the Redhawks saw the Norse fall 63-52.

Gerrety and Jamie Hamlet led the NKU offense in the first half, hitting a combined four three-pointers which really changed the offensive focus of the team from what was shown at Cincinnati. Gerrety, who came off the bench, helped kick start the offense going 5-9 from the field and scoring 13 points.

“She [Gerrety] is a kid that can provide some mismatch opportunities for us because she can post-up down low and step out onto the perimeter,” Plitzuweit said. “I think she has the ability to defend both spots as well. She is someone we’re hoping that continues to build and get better just like everyone else.”

Gerrety has put together two solid performances to start the season, but junior guard Kayla Thacker is hoping to fill the void in the offense.
“The first two years, I kind of struggled with confidence issues,” Thacker said. “But I have been working on my shot. I have practiced a lot and felt much more confident with the ball in my hands and shooting. I’ve been working hard and it looks like it’s paying off for me.”

Thacker led the team with 16 points against the Redhawks and she has played all but four minutes so far this season. Coach Plitzuweit is looking for someone to give some solid minutes on both sides of the ball and Thacker appears to be doing just that.

The next game for the Norse is at Western Kentucky University on Nov. 17. The team will be on the road until Nov. 27 when it hosts Youngstown State University at the Bank of Kentucky Center.