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Late scoring drought thwarts Norse rally in loss to Ohio

Matt Sexton, Managing Editor

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NKU's Shar'Rae Davis (0) brings the ball up the floor Monday as the Norse played Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

ATHENS, Ohio — Picked by the media as favorites of the Mid-American Conference East Division, the Ohio Bobcats fought off a valiant effort from the NKU women’s basketball team Monday night, defeating the Norse 58-41 at the Convocation Center.

Continuing to play shorthanded due to injuries, four NKU starters played more than 36 minutes. Despite that, NKU trailed by only 8, 47-39, with 6:13 left. 

However, OU would go on an 11-0 run over the next 4:55 to put the Norse away.

Still, against a two-time MAC champion and a team that expects to end this season in the NCAA tournament, it was a strong performance for an undermanned team.

“I thought our kids gave great, great effort,” NKU Head Coach Camryn Whitaker said. “(Ohio) is an NCAA-tournament team. I think this gives us a good gauge of where we have to get to. This will help us prepare for conference season down the road.”

Northern Kentucky (1-3) was done in by turnovers and second-chance opportunities for the Bobcats. NKU turned the ball over 28 times, leading directly to 31 Ohio points. The Norse also allowed the Bobcats to pull down 15 offensive rebounds, leading to 11 second-chance points.

“The turnovers and the offensive rebounding was a key as to why we lost the game,” Whitaker said. “But, give credit to Ohio. They are very talented, very well-coached. I have a lot of respect for their coach and for this program.”

Scoring droughts hurt both teams throughout the game. Trailing by 10 at the break, NKU didn’t score for the first 3:46 of the third, allowing the Bobcats to push their advantage to 17 points, 36-19.

But when it appeared the Bobcats would run away with the game, the NKU defense would tighten. Ohio (3-0) would only score 5 points over the final 6:04 of the third. NKU cut the deficit to 11, 43-32.

Whitaker said the Norse used a variety of defenses to frustrate the Bobcats, including a matchup-zone installed just two days ago.

“We were just outmanned, man-to-man,” Whitaker said. “So, we had to try to do some different things. I think our kids did a really nice job executing the game plan. I’m proud of our effort. We dove on the floor, we took charges.”

In the end, the extra possessions gained by the Bobcats due to Norse turnovers proved to be too much to overcome.

“I really feel like where we lost the game was the 28 turnovers,” Whitaker said. “You cut 10 of those out and get 10 more possessions to try to score. We’ve got to take a look at that and try to figure out how we can eliminate some of those unforced turnovers.”

NKU opened the fourth by cutting the deficit to 8. Despite shooting just 28.9 percent, the Norse trimmed the Bobcat lead by slicing to the basket, which got NKU open looks on the outside and free throw opportunities.

“I thought we moved and cut better offensively,” Whitaker said. “Just too many turnovers, and some shots didn’t fall. We’re going to continue to work on it every day.”

One more Norse drought allowed the Bobcats to put the game away. An 11-0 run over 4:55 of the fourth quarter gave the host Bobcats the victory.

Kelley Wiegman led the Norse with 13 points. Rebecca Lyttle had 9 points and 10 rebounds. Kasey Uetrecht had 7 points while Mikayla Terry had 4 points and 7 rebounds. Wiegman (38 minutes), Lyttle (36), Terry (39) and Uetrecht (37) played almost the entire 40 minutes.

“When you have players playing 36, 39, 37, 38 (minutes), that’s really tough at this level,” Whitaker said. “To sustain energy, to sustain effort, that’s really hard. I was proud of our bench. They gave us some good minutes. It’s probably going to be like that a lot this year.”

Due to being shorthanded, the Norse have had to temporarily abandon the plan to run and gun and instead they must play strong defense and grind out possessions.

“We’re trying to control the pace, keep it low-scoring, which I thought we did a good job,” Whitaker said. “Right now defensively, we’re holding teams 37, 38 percent shooting and holding them under 60 points per game. When you do that at the Division I level, you’re pretty good defensively.”

Entering Monday’s game, NKU was 48th in the nation out of 344 teams in scoring defense, holding teams to 54.7 points per game.

Quiera Lampkins led Ohio with 20 points and 8 rebounds.

The Norse will return home 1 p.m. Saturday against East Tennessee State. The game will be televised on ESPN3.

Summary

Monday, Nov. 21, 2016

at the Convocation Center, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

Ohio 58, Northern Kentucky 41

N — 10 – 9 – 13 – 9 — 41
O — 17 – 12 – 14 – 15 — 58

(41) NORTHERN KENTUCKY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Lyttle 4-0-1-9, Terry 1-0-2-4, Wiegman 4-1-4-13, Uetrecht 2-2-1-7, Davis 1-1-0-3, Taugher 1-1-1-4, Combs 0-0-1-1. TOTALS 13-5-10-41.

(58) OHIO (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Agler 4-2-0-10, Lampkins 8-0-4-20, Jenkins 4-1-1-10, Weatherspoon 4-0-1-9, Burke 2-1-0-5, Doseck 1-0-0-2, Boesinger 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 24-4-6-58.

FIELD GOALS: N 13/45 (Lyttle 4/4, Wiegman 4/10); O 24/65 (Lampkins 8/17, Agler 4/6, Jenkins 4/10, Weatherspoon 4/10)

3-POINT FIELD GOALS: N 5/11 (Uetrecht 2/4); O 4/20 (Agler 2/2)

FREE THROWS: N 10/17 (Wiegman 4/5); O 6/9 (Lampkins 4/4)

REBOUNDS: N 43 (Lyttle 10, Terry 7, Taugher 5, Wiegman 4, Combs 4); O 34 (Lampkins 8, Karlis 6, Agler 5, Burke 5)

ASSISTS: N 10 (Uetrecht 3); O 6

STEALS: N 5; O 14 (Agler 4)

BLOCKED SHOTS: N 3 (Lyttle 3); O 9 (Lampkins 3, Karlis 3, Weatherspoon 2)

TURNOVERS: N 28; O 15

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Late scoring drought thwarts Norse rally in loss to Ohio