The Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball team (15-12) can finish no worse than a sixth seed in the Horizon League Tournament.
The Norse had been trying to keep pace with Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis for the fourth seed in the league tournament and the right to host a tournament quarterfinal game. But with two road losses in three days, that is looking bleak after a 65-59 defeat at Purdue University at Fort Wayne on Saturday dropped the Norse into a fifth-place tie with the Mastadons at 9-9 in Horizon League play. Northern Kentucky has two home games left while PFW has to go to Green Bay and Milwaukee to conclude the regular season.
Northern Kentucky came out strong leading PFW, 18-13 after the first quarter. The Norse led by as much as seven in that quarter.
The second quarter saw seven lead changes. But PFW hit a jumper before the buzzer to conclude the first half up 30-29.
Graduate student guard Lindsey Duvall gave the Norse a 31-30 lead just 17 seconds into the second half. But PFW took the lead just 25 seconds later and never gave it up.
The Mastadons led 48-45 after the third quarter then built the lead to as much as 12 at 59-47 with 4:52 left in the game. The Norse trimmed the lead to two twice after that. But PFW made the plays down the stretch to earn the win.
Two areas that really hurt the Norse were bench points and points off turnovers. PFW outscored Northern Kentucky, 30-3 off the bench as the Norse played without injured junior guard Kennedy Igo.
Northern Kentucky turned the ball over 20 times and recorded six steals with PFW turning the ball over 12 times and recording nine steals. The Mastadons outscored the Norse, 20-11 off those turnovers.
Duvall recorded her tenth 20-plus point game this year, scoring 21 points to go with eight rebounds. Senior guard Ivy Turner had her 16th double-digit scoring game this year with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals and graduate student forward/center Emmy Souder had nine points, six rebounds and two assists.
Northern Kentucky made 39 percent of its shots including 21 percent from three-point range and 70 percent from the free-throw line to go with 39 rebounds, 17 fouls, 10 assists and no blocked shots. PFW made 44 percent of its shots including 33 percent from three-point range and 77 percent of its free throws to go with 24 rebounds, 20 fouls, six assists and three blocked shots.
Sophomore guard Audra Emmerson led the Mastadons with 19 points making five three-pointers. Junior guard Amellia Bromenschenkel added 14 points, six rebounds and five steals.
Northern Kentucky plays host to Detroit Mercy on Thursday at 7 p.m.