‘We’ll be back’: Detroit Mercy women fall, ending long season

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Nicole Urbanick

Detroit — And so concludes one long, dismal season of Detroit Mercy women's basketball.

The Titans had a little flurry early before fading in a 76-61 loss to Northern Kentucky in the opener of the Horizon League tournament at Little Caesars Arena on Friday.

Detroit Mercy finishes 2-28, setting a program record for most losses and fewest wins. The Titans' previous record for fewest wins (four) and most losses (24) was set in 1987-88.

All this comes one year after the Titans roared into the Horizon League championship game.

"I guarantee we won't have another season like this," said a sullen Bernard Scott, in his third year as Titans coach. "We'll be back."

Meanwhile, Northern Kentucky (9-21), the No. 8 seed, advances to meet top seed and nationally ranked Green Bay — the defending tournament champion — at 2:30 Saturday.

Ninth-seeded Detroit Mercy led, 17-12, after the first quarter, but that went ice cold, going without a point for the first 4 minutes, 14 seconds of the second quarter, as Northern Kentucky grabbed the lead.

Northern Kentucky led 34-29 at the half, and Detroit Mercy had another slow start to the third quarter, not scoring for the first 2:55. Players attributed the sluggish quarter starts to being torn between aggressiveness and cautiousness, given early foul trouble.

"I think it like a tossup on how we wanted to play," said senior forward Brianne Cohen, the team's leading scorer who was among those in foul trouble early – and was held scoreless until late in the third quarter.

"The foul trouble really slowed us down."

Senior guard Nicole Urbanick scored 13 to lead the Titans, and junior guard Brittney Jackson scored 12. Sophomore guard Anja Marinkovic had 10 points and three steals.

Cohen finished with just eight points.

Detroit Mercy played a tough nonconference schedule and went winless, a confidence-killer that carried into league play. The Titans lost their first 16 games of the season.

"With the younger players, it was kind of hard to get out of the rut," Urbanick said. "It was just a difficult season."

Freshman forward Kailey Coffey 20 and redshirt sophomore guard Taryn Taugher, of Freeland, Mich., each scored 20 to lead Northern Kentucky.

Northern Kentucky outrebounded Detroit Mercy, 53-22 — easily the stat of the game.

The Norse shot just 38.2 percent to the Titans’ 37.3, but took 17 more shots.

"I'm really disappointed in that part of the game," Scott said. "They just outworked us. They outworked us and they went to the boards every game. We didn't commit to putting a body on them. A lot of those rebounds they got were uncontested."