Sierra Ford-Washington led all scorers with 24 points as the Milwaukee Panthers defeated the Northern Kentucky Norse 78-71 Thursday night at the Klotsche Center. With the victory, the Panthers move to 16-10 (10-5 Horizon). The Panthers impressed throughout, as they defeated one of the hottest teams in the NCAA. The Norse came into Thursday’s game having won five of their last six games, propelling them into the top half of the Horizon League standings.
Milwaukee also received strong performances from Steph Kostowicz and Sydney Howard who both scored in double figures. Kostowicz, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, collected her sixth double-double of the season. It was also her second double-double in her last three games.
With the win, combine with a Wright State loss at Green Bay Thursday, the Panthers are now tied for second place in the conference with the aforementioned Raiders ahead of their matchup Saturday afternoon.
The Norse were led by the conference’s third leading scorer Christine Roush who scored 19. Her twin sister Courtney Roush also collected 10 points for Northern Kentucky.
As a team, Milwaukee performed phenomenally on the defensive end. Against one of the most explosive offenses in the conference, the Panthers were stout Thursday night. The Panthers held the Norse to 33 percent shooting on the night, which is 10 percent below their season average. Panthers coach Kyle Rechlicz credited the defensive performance Thursday to the work the Panthers put in during the week.
“We’re very big on knowing the personnel we’re playing against and making them go to their weak hand or weak side of their post moves,” Rechlicz said.
Despite Northern Kentucky’s attempt to pack the lane, Milwaukee still scored 30 points in the paint on the night. The tremendous effort in the post was the difference in the game for the Panthers.
“I think we were relentless and we became the aggressors getting to the rim in the third and fourth quarters,” Rechlicz said.
As previously mentioned, the Panthers return to the floor Saturday afternoon to take on the Raiders of Wright State. Saturday’s game should go a long way in predicting who will finish second in conference, because Saturday’s winner will take over second place with only two games remaining in the conference season. Tip off from the Klotsche Center is at 2 p.m. You can also catch the game on ESPN 3 and The Big 920.