Norse earn important Horizon League win

More by....

The Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball team wanted to put the loss at Wright State on Thursday in the rear view mirror quickly.

The Norse (14-9, 8-6) took their frustrations from that loss and turned it into a huge Horizon League win over the visiting Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis Jaguars, 79-69 at Truist Arena on Monday, splitting the season series in doing so. The Norse are now just one game behind the Jaguars (13-10, 9-5) for fourth in the league standings. The top five teams earn a bye into the Horizon League Tournament quarterfinals and the top four play host to a game in that round.

“I’m just glad to see our team play well,” said Camryn Whitaker, Northern Kentucky head coach. “I thought outside of a few stretches in the third quarter, we looked like the team early on that we were this year. We were really pushing pace, attacking and not hesitating on our shots. A lot of credit to Wright State. They played really well – probably their best game of the year – against us. We didn’t execute really well. After a day off, we came back in and I told them, ‘I know you are probably as upset if not more about the Wright State loss than I am’ so we have to learn from that one and we have to move forward. I thought our kids just had a positive attitude for two days in practice and we did a really good job of just kind of getting back to the basics and doing what we do well. It was nice to see that translate into the game (Monday).”

Related:  Thomas More headed to third straight national semifinal

The Norse once again did it with balanced scoring as the five starters plus junior guard Kennedy Igo all scored at least six points. Graduate student guard Lindsey Duvall led the way with her 12th double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Duvall ranks second in the Horizon League in double-doubles.

“I have to give a lot of credit to our coaches,” Duvall said. “I think they set the tone. When we came in film, we were sort of nervous. We were like, ‘Oh no. It might be bad.’ But they came and said, ‘Let’s be positive.’ We could have been negative about the last game. That made us all relax. The Horizon League is crazy right now. Any given night, someone can win. Now we’re having fun and just trying to enjoy these last few weeks.”

Sophomore point guard Kailee Davis had her 16th double-figure game of the season making three 3-pointers on her way to 19 points to go with three rebounds and two assists. IUPUI trimmed the 47-31 Norse halftime lead to 58-55 with 7:10 left in the game. But Davis started a 6-0 Norse run with a reverse layup to put Northern Kentucky up 64-55 with 6:05 left and the Jaguars did not come closer than eight points after that.

“I think it’s just really about being smart knowing the game and knowing how to control the game in serious situations when they started to go on their run,” Davis said. “I think it’s just getting the team settled down as a point guard.”

Related:  NKU women record first one-point win in most critical game of season

Senior guard Ivy Turner finished with 13 points, four steals and four rebounds with senior post Emmy Souder scoring nine points to go with seven rebounds and one assist. Igo scored eight points off the bench, Khamari Mitchell-Steen added six points.

Northern Kentucky scored the last nine points of the first quarter to go up for good at 25-16. The Jaguars stayed within nine for the majority of the second quarter, but the Norse scored five straight to go up 38-24 with 2:17 left in the half.

Northern Kentucky took advantage at the free throw line, making 27-of-31 free throws compared to 11-of-16 for the Jaguars. Northern Kentucky outscored IUPUI, 36-28 in the paint.

The Norse also had five steals off 14 Jaguar turnovers while yielding three steals off nine turnovers. The Norse outscored the Jaguars, 12-9 in points off turnovers. IUPUI won the rebounding battle, 36-34 including 10-6 on the offensive glass. But the Norse still outscored the Jaguars, 12-8 on second-chance points.

IUPUI also had three players in double figures. Graduate student guard Destiny Perkins led the way scoring 23 with senior forward/guard Rachel Kent and senior guard Natalie Anderson scoring 14 and 13, respectively.

The Norse hit the road for the next four games starting with the annual trip to Wisconsin to face the Green Bay Phoenix on Friday at 8 p.m. Northern Kentucky won in Green Bay last year. The Phoenix are in a tie for first in the Horizon with Cleveland State, the two sitting at 12-2 in conference play.

Related:  Another tight loss ends Northern Kentucky women's season

“Our offense and defense from (Monday) is going to have to carry over to that game,” Whitaker said. “I always say defense travels. We’re going to have to really play some good defense, lock in and get some confidence. We need to pick up a couple of these wins on the road just to get confidence to know that we can do it. Right now, we are just working to get better, fine-tune things and play our best come tournament time.”

Following those four road games, the Norse finish the regular season with two home games.

More articles

Latest articles

In Case You Missed It