Northern Kentucky women’s basketball returns to BB&T Arena on Thursday evening to open up the Horizon League schedule against Milwaukee. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET and is the front end of a doubleheader with the NKU men’s team. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with live streaming available on computers, tablets, smart phones and streaming devices through WatchESPN and the ESPN App.
Northern Kentucky (2-9) vs. Milwaukee (9-3)
Thursday, Dec. 28 – 5 p.m. ET
Highland Heights, Ky. – BB&T Arena
Live Stats | ESPN3 Broadcast
LAST TIME OUT: The Norse put on a gritty performance to close out the nonconference slate, clawing back from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to take down ETSU on the road by 12, 57-45. Samari Mowbray tied her career best of 19 points to lead the team in scoring, going 3-for-5 from long range, while Molly Glick and Jazmyne Geist added 11 and 10, respectively. On the boards, Kailey Coffey hit double digits for the second time in her career and Glick grabbed a career-high-tying eight rebounds. The Norse also had tremendous leadership out of senior Mikayla Terry, who played all 40 minutes with a balanced stat sheet of six points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals.
SCOUTING MILWAUKEE: The Panthers are ranked No. 24 in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, and enter League play at 9-3. Milwaukee relies heavily on its seasoned veterans, with seniors Steph Kostowicz, Jenny Lindner and Bailey Farley each averaging double-digit scoring on the season. Kostowicz, a Preseason All-HL First Team selection, has lived up to preseason prognostications and is ranked in the top-four in the HL in scoring (16.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.608), rebounding (8.3 rpg) and blocked shots (1.9 bpg).
As a team, Milwaukee has a statistical build much like NKU with an emphasis on rebounding and defense. The Panthers are the top team in the League in terms of rebounding margins, ranking 20th nationally at +10.6. UWM has also kept its scoring offense and defense in good balance, averaging 67.5 ppg while holding opponents to 59.8 ppg.
The Panthers lead the all-time series, 3-1, over the Norse. NKU won its lone game in the last outing against Milwaukee in one of the team’s most notable performances of last season. The Norse were blistering from beyond the arc, sinking 13 3-pointers on just 19 attempts and held last year’s most efficient shooting team in the Horizon League to 34.4 percent from the field and 10.5 percent from long range.
ROOKIES IN THE RANKS: NKU has had some key performances from its freshman class, which has come in to contribute right away. Two rookies help lead the team in rebounding (Kailey Coffey – 7.3 rpg; Grace White – 4.9 rpg) to keep the Norse at a +8.1 rebounding margin over opponents, a number that ranks 48th in the nation. Coffey has the eighth-highest rebounding average in the Horizon League, and sits at fourth in the League with 3.3 offensive rpg. Samari Mowbray has also contributed heavily on both the offensive and defensive end, averaging 11.0 ppg at an impressive .512 clip, and is nabbing 1.6 steals per game. Both her overall field goal percentage and her 3-point field goal percentage (.382) rank ninth in the League, making her one of three players and just the only freshman to appear in the top-10 of both stats.
TOP STATS: In addition to ranking fourth in the Horizon League in rebound margin (+8.1), the Norse are in the top-five of several statistical categories. In terms of defense, the Norse are No. 2 in scoring defense (58.3 ppg allowed), field goal percentage defense (.371) and rebounding defense (30.1 rpg allowed), and rank No. 54 and No. 76 in the two former categories. The Norse are also No. 35 nationally in 3-point percentage defense, holding teams to .268 from beyond the arc. Offensively, NKU ranks fourth in the League in offensive rebounding (13.0) and has been converting well from the charity stripe with a 71.1 free throw percentage, good for fifth in the HL.
Assistant Athletic Communications Director
Northern Kentucky University