NKU upset bid falls short against Green Bay


Colin Johnson

Grayson Rose (10) looks to shoot in the game against Detroit Mercy.

After stunning the Green Bay at the BB&T Arena earlier in the season, NKU couldn’t complete the upset again in Saturday’s quarterfinal round of the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Championship. The eighth seeded Northern Kentucky Norse, fell to the one seed Phoenix 61-49 in Little Caesars Arena in Detroit..

The Norse finished their season at 9-22, while the Phoenix (27-3) move onto the semifinals of Motor City Madness to take on the winner of Sunday’s game between Milwaukee and Youngstown State. Tip-off is scheduled for Monday at 1:00 p.m..

“I thought our kids gave a great fight.” NKU head coach Camryn Whitaker said. “We struggled in the third quarter but I’m proud of our team.”

The Norse looked to make a late push after being outscored 21-10 in the third quarter by the Phoenix. Molly Glick opened the fourth quarter with a three followed by a fast-break layup by Mikayla Terry to cut the deficit to three.

But it was the All-League duo of Allie LeClaire and Jessica Lindstrom that helped the Phoenix expand their lead to 11 with 3:24 remaining.

The Phoenix would go on to shoot 8-of-12 from the charity stripe in the final few minutes to secure the ballgame.

Glick led the Norse in scoring for the 15th time in her career with 16 points and a team high, three assists, while Grayson Rose added six points and pulled down a team high 10 rebounds.

Early on, it looked as if the Norse were going to upset the defending champions twice in one season. The Norse held Green Bay’s up-tempo offense scoreless for over seven minutes in the second quarter after forcing six turnovers. The young Norse closed the half on an 11-0 run to go into halftime ahead of the Phoenix, 27-24.

“To be up three at halftime, I thought we defended very well,” Whitaker said. “The third quarter woes that we’ve had all year, happened again today.”

LeClaire led the Phoenix with 21 points and shot 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. While Lindstrom recorded her 17th double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Norse shot 33 percent (16-48) from the field and 30 percent (8-27) from beyond the arc while the Phoenix held the advantage, shooting 46 percent (23-50) from the floor and 35 percent (7-20) from beyond the arc.

Terry provided the Norse with a well-balanced six points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal to end her collegiate career.

“She [Terry] gave us great effort,” Whitaker said. “Especially in the second half of the season so I’m really proud of that.”

Whitaker will miss her lone senior, but the future looks bright for the young Norse with five sophomores and seven freshman returning. Including three freshman coming in.

“Having most of our returners back and gaining three more is really exciting,” Kailey Coffey said. “Considering how much we’ve grown this season and gained experience, it’s really exciting.”

Coffey ended her All-Freshman team campaign with 11 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals.

“We’re very excited for next year,” Glick said. “It’s going to be a great year.”