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Sam Rosenstiel & Colin Johnson

Women’s basketball will play UC Wednesday night in Truist Arena.

Points off turnovers haunt women’s basketball in tough loss to Akron

November 29, 2022

Despite outshooting the Zips’ 38% from the field and out rebounding them 44-39, the NKU women’s basketball team dropped a close game in the final seconds to Akron by a score of 70-69.

In a game that featured 16 lead changes and 14 ties, the struggling Norse offense had 16 total turnovers that turned into 19 points for the Zips, and NKU shot just 1-for-10 from the field over the course of the last 6:45 in the game, including going 1-for-8 from three-point range. This came after NKU was nigh unstoppable from beyond the arc as they shot 50% for three.

Despite missing two starters after being hit with injuries and illness over the past couple of weeks, Norse head coach Camryn Whitaker said postgame that she was disappointed in Monday night’s loss, but did compliment the effort put in by her team.

“We’ve been hit by the injury bug a little bit, both coaches and players, but I still think we should have won the game,” Whitaker said. “It was better than Bowling Green the other night, we didn’t have 21 turnovers. But 19 assists on 28 baskets is pretty good, and I thought we were sharing the basketball better [tonight].”

The Zips would have the number of the Norse early after they won the tip as they got out to a 7-2 lead through the first three and a half minutes of play. A Tayah Irvin jumper would set NKU on the right track though, as they would go on an 8-0 run through the next 2:36 that was capped by a Lindsey Duvall three-pointer. However, Akron would keep NKU to just three more from Duvall in the remainder of the quarter as they received 13 points of their own, with junior guard Alexis Stewart leading the pack as she contributed five of her own.

The two teams would trade baskets throughout the second quarter with the Zips keeping the Norse behind by at least five, until Duvall drilled her fourth three of the game to put her at 14 total points and the Norse behind by four. After a layup by Akron’s Molly Neitzel, Ivy Turner would nail a three of her own with an assist from Kennedy Igo to lower the deficit to 38-35 at the half.

Blows would be traded between the two teams again through the first three minutes of the second half, but Duvall and forward Emmy Souder would carry the Norse throughout much of the third, as they would both record six and seven points respectively by the 4:56 mark and the Norse found themselves back in the lead by a score of 51-48. Souder, who had struggled offensively for much of the season to this point, commented on her performance postgame as she would go on to post 13 points and eight rebounds on the night.

“Before the game, coach went and made a point, which she does before a lot of games, that we need to get inside, and when we do get the ball inside good things happen, whether that be a post score for me or a kick out to Lindsey for a three,” Souder said. “My teammates kept giving me the ball and had confidence in me, so that really helps me continue to go.”

After a foul by Whitney Hay, the Zips would go on a 12-4 run throughout the last 3:49 of the third quarter to retake the lead. Layne Ferrell would lead Akron’s scorers with four as the Norse would go just 2-for-5 from the field and 0-for-3 at the free throw line.

Duvall would begin the fourth quarter with a layup and sank a free throw after being fouled by Akron’s Dominique Camp, with the former recording her 23rd and final point of the night that brought the Norse within two. After tying the game twice, NKU would take the lead at 7:40 via a free throw from Turner, which was extended by a jumper from Kennedy Igo to make it a 65-62 Norse lead.

However, the Norse shooting went cold down the stretch, as for the next 5:45 the Zips would dominate the scoring, going on an 8-1 run that was capped by a Reagan Bass layup. The 0-6 field goal streak was broken by a three from Igo to make it a one-point game with a second left on the clock, but it would be too little too late for NKU as Akron ran the final second off the clock.

Duvall commented on another terrific individual offensive performance, as her 23 points lead all Norse scorers on the night, and she also touched on the team’s mindset heading after six games against tough opponents heading into conference play.

“My coaches and teammates really helped the offense get better, because they really believe in me,” Duvall said. “When you have them believing in you, you have great confidence, so I took the open shots that I felt like I had and I think that helped. With the locker room, I think it’s great, and I think this is going to be a really good game for us to move on from. [Akron] really simulates Youngstown State a lot to be honest, they’re a great post team with great shooters around them.”

The Norse continue their homestand throughout the week as they begin their Horizon League conference slate on Friday, Dec. 2 against the Penguins of Youngstown State. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.

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