Nov. 1, 2008
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati women’s basketball team dropped its exhibition opener against reigning Division II National Champion Northern Kentucky, 56-52, on Saturday evening (Nov. 1) at Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats (0-1) were led by Kahla Roudebush’s (Noblesville, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) 12 points. NKU (1-0), the preseason No. 1 in Division II, was led by a game-high 17 points from Jessie Slack.
“Northern Kentucky is a very good basketball team,” said UC head coach J. Kelley Hall. “We got behind by 13 and kept battling back, but it we dug too big of a hole.”
Both teams started slowly on the offensive end, with the Norse taking a four point lead on four occasions. A Tenishia Benson (Akron, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) three gave UC a 19-18 lead with 7:58 to play in the half. It was the last lead the Bearcats would hold.
The Norse exploded for a 15-0 run over a 5:11 span to take a 33-19 lead with 2:21 remaining. Roudebush’s three-pointer at the 1:54 mark snapped the Norse run, but NKU took a 35-22 lead into the break.
Slack and Danyelle Echoles scored 10 points each in the first half for the Norse, which 7-of-13 from the three-point line in the opening stanza. Roudebush led the Bearcats with seven points in the first 20 minutes.
A 4-0 spurt by the Bearcats to open the second half cut the NKU lead to nine at 35-26, but UC couldn’t seem to break through. Roudebush’s layup at the 9:32 mark cut the lead to five at 44-39, but an NKU layup and a pair of free throws pushed the margin back to nine.
Senior Angel Morgan (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield North) drilled a three-pointer with 2:50 to go to cut the lead to four, but back-to-back missed layups sealed UC’s fate. Northern Kentucky made 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
“We turned the ball over a couple times down the stretch and missed a few layups,” Hall said. “Give then credit, though. They made big shots late in the shot clock.”
The Bearcats shot just 4-of-13 from the three-point line and 6-of-15 from the free throw line.
Freshman Val Schuster (Wausau, Wis./Wausau Newman Senior) scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in 19 minutes in her collegiate debut. Shelly Bellman (Ottawa, Ohio/Ottawa-Glandorf), returning from a knee injury that kept her out of the 2007-08 season, had two points, three rebounds, and four assists.
The Bearcats will wrap up the exhibition schedule against the Ohio Girls Basketball Report All-Star team, a team made up of former college basketball standouts, on Friday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena.