NKU women’s basketball team dominated the Milwaukee University Panthers Thursday night at BB&T Arena. Sitting at fourth in the Horizon League, NKU’s record advances to 12-9 overall and 6-4 in the conference. The Panthers now sits at 7-14 on the season and 4-6 in the league.
Sophomore point guard Ally Niece led with 17 points shooting 7-of-12 from the field and assists with three. Redshirt senior guard Molly Glick followed with 13 points and led in steals with three. Junior center Grayson Rose led in rebounds with eight and blocks with two.
“I think that we’re happy and excited that we’re ranked fourth but we don’t really care about it,” Niece said. “We’re just focusing on the next day, the next game, the next game, versus what we’re ranked because at the end, it really doesn’t really matter right now. It just matters when we’re at the end.”
The Panthers put points on the board first but sophomore forward Emmy Souder answered with a 3-point basket to take the lead. The Norse then take an 8-2 run, putting the Norse up 11-6 halfway through the first quarter. Niece and Glick split the run with four points each. Milwaukee put up five unanswered points tot tie 11-11 with 2:18 left in the quarter. Niece swished a three to keep the Norse ahead. NKU ended the quarter up by one, 14-13.
Milwaukee opened up the quarter with four straight points taking the lead. Rose stopped advances with one made free throw and a 3-point basket with ease. Freshman guard Carissa Garcia entered the game and made a 3-pointer of her own. The Norse continue to stay ahead ending the half 25-23
Rose had two big blocks and five rebounds, contributing to the teams 18 for the half. NKU shot 35.7 percent from the field 4-of-14 from behind the arc. Milwaukee’s shooting percentage sits at 36, and have made 2-of-9 from three.
“You can tell the last couple games that [Rose] was a little bit off. So, to see her come out and have a big night and get her some confidence, because we need “G,” Head Coach Camryn Whitaker said. “She’s got the most size on our team and when we face post players like Odegard and other bigger players, we’ve got to have “G” in there. She leads the league in blocked shots. She has a big presence down low. “
Freshman guard Ivy Turner laid in a basket and Glick came down the court to drain a 3-pointer. Niece had a layup with a post move and added another point at the free throw line to stretch the teams lead to 33-24. The Norse continued to dominate. Turner hit a 3-point basket to launch the Norse into the largest lead of the game with 11.
Garcia hit a big step-back baseline jumper to start the final quarter. She added another point at the charity stripe to keep the lead growing. The Norse go on a 14-2 run stretching the lead over 20. NKU won 61-47, keeping the Panthers below 40 points – the first time the Norse have done do to an opposing team this season.
“Our defense was amazing. I was really proud of that,” Whitaker said. “Our half court defense zone and man were both really good and and to hold a team to 37 Points, three of those quarters in single digits. That’s really good, only allowing 15 points in the second half. Again, it’s our players just buying in to our defensive philosophy and to letting our defense dictate our offense.”
For the game, NKU outrebounded the Panthers 44-36 and outscored the Panthers in the paint 18-14. From the field Milwaukee shot 25 percent overall and NKU shot 37.9 percent for the game. The Norse made 6-of-23 3-pointers and spent 91.6 percent of the game in the lead. NKU defeated Milwaukee twice this season, the first being 61-49 on December 30.
“It’s always good to get a W starting off the second run of the conference. Coming in fourth that’s a big step up for us,” Glick said. “And I feel like we’re playing pretty well. So, we just need to keep playing team ball and communicate, like coach said, just doing the little things and I feel good about this year.”
Saturday, Feb. 1 the Norse take on Green Bay, who is currently no. 3 in the Horizon League standings. The Game will be at BB&T Arena and serve as their “Box out Cancer” game. Tip is set for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.