Sunday, March 07, 1999

NKU wins on last shot




BY CHRIS VARIAS
Enquirer contributor

        Michelle Cottrell doesn't know what hit her. All she knows is she hit the shot.

        That shot was the buzzer-beater that gave the Northern Kentucky women's basketball team a 65-63 victory over Michigan Tech to take the Great Lakes Regional Tourament Championship at Regents Hall Saturday night.

        NKU, ranked No. 9 nationally, advances to an elite-eight matchup against Indiana (Pa.) in Pine Bluff, Ark., on March 17.

        The lead was traded back and forth several times in the final minutes, and the score was tied on the Norse's final possession. NKU took a 63-61 lead on a Julie Stanley three-pointer with 31 seconds remaining, but the Huskies quickly tied it up on a short jumper by Allison Bailey.

        NKU Coach Nancy Winstel called a time-out with 11 seconds to go and designed a play for senior center Shannon Smith.

        Guard Katie Kelsey dribbled the length of the court and found Smith underneath the basket. Smith's shot missed, and Cottrell grabbed the rebound amid a mad scramble. Cottrell was knocked backward, and as she fell tossed up a shot just before the buzzer that hit the backboard and fell through the rim.

        Cottrell, named to the All-Tournament team after the game, credited Winstel with scripting the play.

        “I don't know who hit me. I knew when I was falling that time was expiring and I was just praying it would go in. Coach wanted Shannon to take the shot and I was supposed to crash the board,” she said. “I haven't played well all night and this will just make up for it.”

        The Norse, whose 29-2 record is a school best, squandered big leads in both halves. They led the Huskies (28-3) by 13 midway through the first half but lost the lead for a 28-all tie at halftime. The Norse opened the second with a 10-point run and build a 12-point lead with 14:30 to go.

        But the Huskies, ranked No.2 in the region behind NKU and No.5 nationally, crawled back by dumping the ball inside to Bailey, a 6-foot-1 forward who finished with a game-high 22 points.

        Michele Tuchfarber led the Norse with 19 points and seven assists. She was voted the tournament's most outstanding player after the game.

        “There's no way you give an MVP to one player,” she said. “This whole team stepped it up.”

        MICHIGAN TECH (28-3) — Sorenson 1-10 1-2 3, Rondorf 1-2 2-4 2, Ferris 4-6 0-0 10, Gardner 0-3 0-0 0, Goggins 4-11 0-0 9, Kriegl 1-2 0-0 2, Pietila 1-2 0-0 2, Hofmann 3-5 4-6 11, Bailey 9-12 4-6 63. Totals: 24-53 11-18 63.

        NORTHERN KENTUCKY (29-2) — Stanley 1-1 0-0 3, Cottrell 5-9 2-5 12, Jenson 3-5 4-5 10, Tuchfarber 5-11 6-8 19, Kelsey 1-6 4-5 7, Su. Smith 0-1 1-2 1, Roddy 1-2 0-0 3, Kamrath 2-2 0-0 4, Sh. Smith 2-4 2-3 6. Totals: 20-41 19-28 65.

        Halftime score: Michigan Tech 28, Northern Kentucky 28. Three-point field goals: Michigan Tech 4-15 (Sorenson 0-5, Ferris 2-4, Gardner 0-2, Goggins 1-2, Pietila 0-1, Hofmann 1-1), Northern Kentucky 6-10 (Stanley 1-1, Tuchfarber 3-4, Kelsey 1-4, Roddy 1-1). Records: Michigan Tech 28-3, Northern Kentucky 29-2.

       



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