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NKU Women top UT-Martin, 70-61
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WKRC) -- Melody Doss and Kaitlyn Gerrety combined for 37 points and 23 rebounds to lead the Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team to a 70-61 victory over Tennessee Martin on Saturday afternoon to conclude the two-day RMU Thanksgiving Classic at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
Doss scored 23 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds to lead NKU and earned tournament most valuable player honors for her performance during NKU's two wins. Gerrety added a career-high 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor and nine rebounds to help the Norse improve to 4-3.
"Melody played really, really well, and I thought she hit some very critical shots against their zones that gave us some new life," NKU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. "It's tough to guard a player who has the ability to score inside and out, and she has proven she can do that.
"And, I thought Kaitlyn really played well, too. She allows us some different looks defensively inside against their post players. Offensively, she took her time around the rim and scored. She was capitalizing and finishing, and that was important for us."
The Norse used a 7-2 run tie the game at 23-all with 4:30 remaining in the first half, which saw four ties and seven lead changes, and then used an 11-5 spurt behind six points from Gerrety to take a 34-30 advantage over UT Martin (5-3) into the break.
The Norse shot 39.3 percent from the field in the opening half while limiting the Skyhawks to 10-for-34 (.294) from the floor.
UT Martin took advantage of early NKU turnovers in the second half to regain the lead and eventually stretch its advantage to 45-42 with 12:11 remaining in the game. NKU responded with a 20-7 run over a 10 minute span to take a 62-52 lead with 1:12 left to play with Doss scoring 11 of her 23 points during that stretch.
The Skyhawks would get no closer than five points the rest of the way. NKU outrebounded UT Martin by a 47-39 margin and held the Skyhawks to 28.6 percent shooting from the field and 5-for-33 behind the 3-point arc.
"We are very fortunate to get a win against such a strong team in Tennessee Martin," Plitzuweit said. "Our kids played really well, and they had to make a couple adjustments and play against a couple different types of defenses. We struggled for a while to get shots in rhythm, but we stayed with it and eventually found a way to put the ball in the basket.. To our players' credit, they kept competing and trying different things until something finally worked."
Christine Roush finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Kayla Thacker, who earned a spot on the all-tournament team, scored nine points and dished out four assists.
Jasmine Newsome and Heather Butler, two of the nation's top 20 scorers, led the UT Martin offense. Newsome poured in a game-high 28 points and finished perfect (10-for-10) from the free-throw line, while Butler added 14 points and four assists. Ashia Jones pulled down 12 rebounds for the Skyhawks.
With the win, the Norse evened the all-time series against UT Martin with each team being victorious once.
Image and information provided by NKU athletics