Norse fall to Stetson on Victor Hoops for Health day

The NKU Norse women’s basketball team fell 54-45 to Wednesday afternoon. The Norse fall to 2-4 while Stetson improves to 7-1.

The Norse held a four point lead late into the third quarter, but Stetson came roaring back, taking a four point lead into the fourth quarter. The Norse could never recover, shooting just 27 percent in the third quarter, while Stetson shot 50 percent.

Brianti Saunders was the leading scorer for the Hatters, scoring 18 points and dishing out four assists. Breana Bey also scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds while Brittney Chambers went 4-9 from the field and scored 10 points.

“They are a really talented team and a veteran team,” Coach Whitaker said. “We didn’t have much answer for them in the paint.”

The Hatters scored 34 points in the paint, while NKU only managed to score 16 points in the paint.

Despite the loss, the Norse slowed down a Hatters team that avergaes 73 points per game (ppg) to just over 50 points.

“Our defensive intensity is pretty good, even though I’m on them constantly that it’s not good enough,” Whitaker said.

NKU forced Stetson into 15 turnovers while senior Rebecca Lyttle blocked three shots and made two steals.

“It’s good for the team,” Lyttle said. “It’s something we have to work on every single day.”

Lyttle also led the team in rebounds, grabbing nine on the day. 

“We can count on her almost every night,” Whitaker said. 

It was a tough day on the other end of the floor however, as the Norse shot 34 percent from the field. NKU shot 20 threes in the game, but only made five of them. They also committed 17 turnovers. 

Whitaker said that the Norse got away from what they do on offense in this game. 

“We’ve got to find a way offensively to get better shot selection,” Whitaker said. “We want to play inside out and get points in the paint.”

Kasey Uetrecht was NKU’s best shooter on this night, scoring 16 while going 4-5 from three and shooting 50 percent from the field. The rest of the team only made one three combined. 

“Having someone like Becca in the post who can kick it back out it creates a whole new dynamic for us,” Uetrecht said. 

Uetrecht has shown her versatility in the last two outings, after grinding out 15 points in the post against East Tennessee on Saturday night while only making one of the five three’s she attempted. 

“She has been putting in a lot of extra work on her shot,” Whitaker said. “I was happy to see her shots fall. I think she got really good shots.”

The Norse will hit the road this weekend to face Tennessee Tech University on Sunday Dec. 4th at 2 p.m.. Tennessee Tech is currently 2-5 on the season

Trusting Teammates

After each dead ball and before every free throw attempt, Whitaker is yelling to her team to huddle up. Each stoppage of play she wants her team to huddle. 

“It’s a communication thing and a discipline thing,” Whitaker said. “It forces them to come together and have a talk and hold each other accountable.”

With time, Whitaker hopes the players can build trust in each other and do it without the help of the coaching staff.

“The best teams that I’ve been apart of are coached by the players and that’s what we are trying to create through this process,” Whitaker said. 

Victor’s Hoops for Health Day

Over 4,000 from 19 elementary schools were in attendance for the first Victor’s Hoops for Health Day by the university. 

“A lot of work went into it from our staff. I was really proud how everyone came together for this,” Brandon Hays, assistant athletic director for marketing and promotion, said. “For many of these kids, this is their first touch of NKU. Hopefully they had a good enough time that they will want to come back next year.”

He, along with marketing coordinator Stanley Frazier, worked to coordinate the event along with the student athletes and other members of the athletic department. 

“He just killed it. The idea may have come from my end but he broke his back for it the last few weeks,” Hays said. “Everyone from Ken (Bothof) helped out.”

During timeouts, videos by Uetrecht, Lyttle and other Norse players taught the students different stretches and workouts to do on their own. During halftime, the NKU Dance team took the court to teach the kids a routine, with some help from their fellow classmates. 

Through much of the first half, the students chanted “NKU” to root on the Norse and erupted when Taryn Taugher nailed a three and was fouled after the shot. 

“It was so much fun. I’m so glad they come out,” Uetrecht said.

The energy from the kids could be felt on the court by the players. 

“It was exciting,” Lyttle said. “I have never played in front of a crowd that big. We fed off their energy.”

Whitaker noted a time the Norse were down early in the game, and the kids willed the Norse back into contention.

“When we were down 23-17, we came back and I think the crowd played a big part in that and we are very appreciative of that,” Whitaker said. 

Hays wants the NKU student athletes to have an atmosphere from a large crowd in their times at the university, and these types of events are a great way to give that to the athletes. 

“For our athletes, to get that feeling of being larger than life and getting ta full crowd a couple times in your career is cool,” Hays said. “They will be talking about it for awhile.”