Norse fall to Horizon League no. 2 Wright State Raiders in nail-biter

January 17, 2020

The game came down to the last minute Friday night at BB&T Arena, where NKU women’s basketball team fell 55-63. The Norse now stand 9-9 overall and 3-4 in the conference. Sophomore point guard Ally Niece led the game with 16 points, five assists and three steals. Sophomore point guard Taylor Clos had 13 points, shooting 3-of-4 big time 3-point baskets. Freshman guard Ivy Turner added 10 points. Each player shooting 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

“Our attitudes are very well, I think that, throughout the whole game, we just pushed through adversity,” Niece said. “And I think that we never gave up. which is super good, because I don’t think we played our best tonight and we could play better. The fact that we all have a positive attitude and just kept working and didn’t give up. It’s just a very good sign, especially for this early in conference.”

Niece opened the game with a power move down low to score. The raiders answer, the score continued going back and forth until 5-0 run during the first quarter. NKU battled their way back within one when Niece hit a mid-range jumper to put the Norse up 12-11. The Raiders take the lead back to end the quarter on top, 15-12.

The second quarter started with a 8-2 run with six of the run points coming from Niece and two from turner. The Norse dominated outscoring the Raiders 17-8. During the dominance Clos had a steal and a basket with three minutes to put the Norse up by four. To close out the half Niece sent a lb to Rose to finish. The Norse went into halftime up by six, 29-23.

Going into the half the Raiders field goal percent was better than NKU’s with 38.5 percent. NKU made 11-of-33 (33.3 percent) field goal attempts. WSU forced the Norse to commit 15 turnovers in the half, while the Raiders committed four. 

The third quarter started with WSU coming back to not only tie the game but take the lead. A 3-point basket from WSU’s Angel Baker tied the game 31-3. Baked followed up the next possession with free throws. Baker is currently number three in the Horizon League in scoring. The Norse then go on a 10-1 run, four points from a fouled Niece at the line and a technical from WSU. Clos ended the half with a ball fake and 3-pointer to keep the Norse up 49-38.

NKU started the final quarter with a drought, it wasn’t until the 7:15 mark senior guard Molly Glick scored two from the charity stripe to keep the Norse ahead 51-44. Wright State continued on a 13-2 run to take control of the lead 53-51. Clos stopped the run with a 3-pointer to put the Norse up by one, 54-55. NKU couldn’t get any more shots to fall, until Glick went to the line and made one free throw to end the game 63-55.

“I told our kids in the locker room, we’re not trying to miss shots, we shot 27 percent and had a really, really rough fourth quarter,” Whitaker said. “And that’s ultimately what put Wright State over the edge. They were able to come on strong in the fourth quarter and they are a championship team.”

The team’s field goal percentage declined, shooting 27.1 percent for the game. NKU lost the rebound battle 34-45 and in the second half allowed WSU’s Baker to score 25 points to bring her to a game total of 29 points. The Norse did force more turnovers from the Raiders in the second half, causing 17 opposed to NKU’s 13.

“Well, [Baker]’s just a phenomenal player. I mean, everybody can see that when you come out and score 29 points you don’t just do that by accident,” Whitaker said. “We were trying to deny her there at the end and she got hot and she became the player that she is and you know when you got great players like that, who can go score the basketball, it’s a big key to have. And we have those too, we just didn’t have it tonight. “

The Norse continue Horizon League play at home with Oakland Grizzlies on Thursday, Jan. 23. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

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