The Northern Kentucky women’s basketball team captured their eighth win of the season Thursday night at BB&T Arena 75-56. The victory over the Youngstown State Penguins is also the second conference win for the Black and Gold. Coming into the game YSU was the overall leader in the Horizon League.
Sophomore forward Emmy Souder led the way for the Norse with 19 points on 7-11 (63 percent) shooting from the field. Junior forward Kailey Coffey also contributed for the Norse, dropping 15 points on 7-12 (58 percent) shooting.
The Black and Gold were dominant defensively as they cut off passing lanes all night, forcing 16 turnovers by the Penguins which included eight steals. The Norse took advantage of their play defensively and scored 19 points off of turnovers.
“Coach told us to really get up in them, and that led to turnovers and steals and we were able to convert those into points,” Coffey said.
After the Penguins jumped out to an early 5-2 lead the Norse answered with a 10-0 run that put them out in front 12-5 with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter.
“If you look back at the games we lost this year, most of the time that first five minutes we really struggled, we really try to focus in on those first five minutes,” Head Coach Camryn Whitaker said.
Youngstown State opened the second period with a 7-0 run, however the Norse would hang tough splitting the scoring in the second quarter with 17 apiece. NKU headed into the locker room at halftime with a 10 point lead 36-26.
To open the third period for the Norse, Coffey converted back-to-back layups and then a trip to the charity stripe. The Penguins continued their efforts in coming back as they outscored the Black and Gold 18-15 in the third quarter.
The Norse dominated the fourth quarter to put the game outscoring Youngstown State 24-12. NKU went on a 15-7 run to pull ahead 70-53 with 2:58 left in the game.
It was a balanced effort tonight for the Norse as they had four players score in double figures and five players grabbed at least five rebounds.
“This has definitely been our best team win because everybody contributed,” Souder said. “When people weren’t hitting somebody else would step up and make shots.”
Coach Whitaker had high praise for her team after the game.
“This might be the best performance that I’ve seen since I have been the coach here,” Whitaker said. “I am really proud of the way they played together, and defensively it was a team effort, we held a really good scoring team to 56 points.”
Next up for the Norse is a matchup with Cleveland State on Saturday Jan. 4 at BB&T Arena. Tip is set for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.