NKU’s women’s basketball team fell to the Green Bay Phoenix 61-81 Saturday afternoon. The Norse are now 2-2 in Horizon League play and 3-11 overall.
Freshman guard Ally Niece led with a career high of 21 points, 2 assists, and one steal. She was followed by freshman center Emmy Souder with 10 points and redshirt junior Molly Glick with 9 points. Sophomore forward Kailey Coffey led in rebounds with 9 and put up 3 points for the team.
The Norse started the game slow, allowing Green Bay to start a 7-0 run. The physicality of Green Bay was present from the start. Clos hit the first shot of the game from behind the arc at the 7-minute mark. Niece and Souder hit some big shots during the quarter, cutting the deficit down to one point with under 2 minutes left. They ended the quarter down 5 and shot 70 percent from the field.
“I think we need to take both games [Milwaukee and Green Bay] and learn how tough both teams are, and make our team that tough,” Niece said. “And it was very eye opening to me [being a] freshman seeing how physical they were.”
The second quarter started off better than the first with big shots from Souder and Niece. But the Norse weren’t able to get enough defensive stops, the deficit increased to 14 points during the quarter. The Norse end the half at 32-44 and shot 23.5 percent from the field for the quarter.
Green Bay dominates the third quarter against the Norse. Souder hit a three pointer to cut Green Bay’s lead down to 11 with under 5 minutes left. The Norse shot for 22 percent from the field and 16 percent at the three point line.
“Before the game, Coach Whit was really preaching on how we need to be ready to shoot the ball because Green Bay’s a big team,” Souder said. “They like to pack it in the paint, so I think that was really on my mind a lot. So like if I ever caught it on the perimeter and I had an open shot I was gonna take it.”
Niece opens the fourth quarter for the Norse with a three-point basket and senior guard Taryn Taugher hit a three to bring the score to 52. Taugher hit another three to bring the Norse to 61 points. They ended the game 61-81 and shot 36 percent from the field and from behind the arc.
“Well, you know, Green Bay prides themselves on their defense, keeping the ball out of the paint,” said Head Coach Camryn Whitaker. “And we took 33 threes, which is pretty uncharacteristic of us, 33 of our 47 shots were three pointers, so we did not do a great job of getting the ball in the paint. But that’s a credit to the Green Bay’s defense, because it’s so good.”
From the Norse bench 26 points were acquired opposed to the Phoenix 21. A good amount of the Phoenix offense was played in the post, where they scored 44 points opposed to NKU’s 6.
The Phoenix’s only loss in the conference so far was against Wright State 57-86, who is currently undefeated in the Horizon League also against IUPUI and UIC.
Whitaker said freshman Clos, Niece and Souder are getting better at playing more minutes against better teams.
“This is Division I basketball,” Whitaker said. “We’re in a really, really good basketball league for women and the way they’ve handled themselves and the way they come out every day it’s really encouraging for me, and for the future of our program, and I hope everybody can see that. I hope our fans see that, and I hope our players realize it, too, that it’s going to take some time and it’s a process.”
Up next in Horizon League play, the Norse face Wright State on Saturday, Jan. 12 at BB&T Arena. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN3.