Northern Kentucky Norse WBB 2023-24 Season Preview

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Image courtesy of Northern Kentucky Athletics/Taylor Keeton

Cha-cha-changes – Lady Norse will look much different this season

Change is the name of the game this season for the Lady Norse as the team will bare very little resemblance to the one that made a late season push and reached the finals of the Horizon League Tournament before losing to Cleveland State.

Gone are All-Horizon League player Lindsey Duvall (graduation) as well as Ivy Turner (transfer portal to EKU) and inside anchor Emmy Souder and often used substitute Tayah Irvin. To offset those losses, NKU leveraged the transfer portal by bringing in solid talent from some in-state D1 schools. Kalissa Lacy comes to Highland Heights from Eastern Kentucky University and both Mya Meredith and Macy Blevins arrive after playing at Western Kentucky University.  Add-in Madison French from MAC member Miami (OH).

Change isn’t just limited to the players. Head Coach Camryn Whitaker – now Volz – will be sporting a new last name after getting married over the summer.  Two of her assistant coaches from last season chose to move on to other opportunities within the coaching and business sector.  Volz wasted little time filling those vacancies by hiring new assistants Doug Novak, John McCray and Mallory Odell. 

Novak is the most experienced of the group and brings nearly three decades of coaching experience, most recently serving as the associate head coach for the men’s basketball program at Army West Point during the 2022-23 season. Prior to that, he was the interim head coach for the women’s basketball program at Mississippi State in 2021-22.  According to Volz, “I am excited to add Doug Novack, he is very offensive minded.”

Lineup

Kailee Davis – With Ivy Turner opting to use her graduate year to head to EKU, the responsibilities at the point guard position will fall squarely to Davis.  Last season she played in 29 games for the Lady Norse, averaging 9.2 ppg and 2.4 apg.  Look for those numbers to increase as she will also be relied upon to score more this season. 

Khamari Mitchell-Steen – The 5-7 junior will be the running mate at the guard position.  Mitchell-Steen averaged 7.2 ppg last season and 4 rpg in playing all 31 games for NKU.  Look for her to utilize her ability to take her defender off the dribble and get to the rim to get baskets.  Khamari is a solid defender on the defensive end of the floor and will entrusted to guard the opponent’s best player.  

Kennedy Igo – Igo enters her senior season healthy – she was limited towards the end of last season due to an ankle injury – and looks to expand her role in the Norse lineup after playing in 29 games for the Norse.  Most dangerous last season from behind the arc, Igo shot close to 30% from long range.  Volz will be looking to the Senior a lot this season; “The best way to describe Kennedy is tough. She’s one of the fiercest competitors I’ve watched play the game in a while. Not only can she impact the game on the offensive end with her scoring and passing ability, but she is also relentless on the defensive end of the floor.  Kennedy has a great feel for the game and is a natural leader.”

Paige Hodgson – Hodgson saw limited playing time last season, only seeing action in seven total games.  However, she is returning for her junior season and will be relied upon to bring what experience she does have within the program to this season’s team. 

Mya Meredith – The 5-11 junior will bring two years of experience at Western Kentucky. She was third is scoring for the Hilltoppers, averaging 8.5 ppg and was the team’s leading rebounder, pulling down an average of 5.0 rpg. 

Key Reserves

Allison Bayse – Bayse is another returning player from last seasons squad, seeing limitation action off the bench.  She will add much needed depth to the frontcourt. 

Kalissa Lacy – The EKU transfer comes to NKU after averaging 7.4 ppg for the Colonels all while shooting 37% from behind the arc.  Look for Lacy to push for playing time on the wing. 

Macey Blevins – A WKU transfer, Blevins played in all 33 games for the Hilltoppers last season tying for fourth on the team in 3-pointers made. 

Noelle Hubert – The 5-1 pure-shooter out of Notre Dame Academy will bring the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. 

Madison French – Another local product out of Lakota East HS in Cincinnati, French average 12 ppg and 2.4 rpg during her senior season. 

Carter McCray – The freshman out of Oberlin, OH will bring size (6-1) to the middle for the Norse.  Averaged 10.2 rebounds per game. 

Meadow Tisdale – The 1,000-point scorer at Bowling Green (KY) High School, Tisdale, a freshman on this season’s team, will bring physicality to the middle and another rebounding option for the Lady Norse

Gabby Razzano – Another Freshman out of Cincinnati’s Mason High School,, Razzano, a 6-2 power forward can play both inside and out and help stretch the floor.

Outlook

The Lady Norse will need to rely heavily on their returning veterans for both scoring and leadership to make another run to the Horizon League Championship.  NKU will feature eight new players on the roster this season and team chemistry will ultimately determine how far the Lady Norse can go.

Said Volz; “Gonna take a lot of luck and remaining healthy to get back to the title game.  Green Bay will be very good, YSU has a lot of experience and Cleveland State is good no matter what.”

HoriZone Roundtable Prediction

5th Place (tie)

Miss anything from Preview Week? Check it all out below:

Predictions

Preseason Poll | All-League

Podcasts

Preview Week Recap Part 1 | Preview Week Recap Part 2

Team Previews

Men

IUPUI | Green Bay | Cleveland State | Milwaukee | Robert Morris | Detroit Mercy
Youngstown State | Wright State | Oakland | Northern Kentucky | Purdue Fort Wayne

Women

IUPUI | Green Bay | Cleveland State | Milwaukee | Robert Morris | Detroit Mercy
Youngstown State | Wright State | Oakland | Northern Kentucky | Purdue Fort Wayne

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