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NKU women open up A-Sun play with a victory

SPARTANBURG, S.C.(WKRC) -- Melody Doss scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team to a 76-60 victory over South Carolina Upstate to open Atlantic Sun Conference play at the G.B. Hodge Center on Thursday.

Doss, who scored 14 of her points in the second half after getting in early foul trouble in the first half, finished the night perfect from behind the 3-point arc (3-for-3) and the free throw line (3-for-3).

"She got some good looks, and I thought her teammates did a nice job of moving the ball and passing to her," NKU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.  "She got some good looks on baseline out-of-bounds scenarios.  To her credit, she's pretty tough to guard because she can score it inside and she can also pop out and shoot it from the arc.  I thought she played really well and provided a spark for us offensively."

Kelley Wiegman topped her career high with a 15-point effort and collected five rebounds and four assists.  She went 9-for-10 from the free throw line and only turned the ball over once.

"Kelley is someone who we put a lot on her shoulders because she has to handle the ball for us, attack the rim and defend the other team's point guard or good player," Plitzuweit said.  "She is a kid that can attack and does a lot of good things for us on both ends of the court.  I thought she played very well and really gave us some action going to the rim."

NKU, which improved to 5-7 overall and 1-0 in the Atlantic Sun, used a 12-0 run to jump out to an early 15-3 advantage with 14:35 left in the first half, but USC Upstate was able to slowly chip away at the lead.  The Spartans used a 7-2 spurt to close the half, and the Norse took a 34-33 advantage into the break.

Doss scored 10 of NKU's first 14 points of the second half and sparked a 22-5 run for a 56-38 lead to take control of the game with 9:24 remaining.  The Norse would eventually stretch their lead to 24 (70-46) with 5:03 left, and the Spartans would get no closer than 16 the rest of the way.

"We started the first half and the second half very well," Plitzuweit said.  "We got caught in some foul trouble and that hurt us on the glass and trying to keep the ball away from the rim, but we outrebounded (USC Upstate) tonight and that was important for us.  To our kids credit, they came back in the second half, rebuilt the lead and stayed with it, and they pulled out a very big win on the road tonight."

Brittany Starling led the Spartans with 15 points and seven rebounds.  Brittany Clency added 14 points, while Toni Romiti and Alex Stanford each finished with nine points.  Travonda Haddock and Valese McAllister each pulled down seven rebounds for USC Upstate, which fell to 5-7 on the year and 0-1 in the Atlantic Sun.

Lauren White finished with 10 points off the bench, while Christine Roush scored nine points for the Norse.  Kayla Thacker added eight points and Kaitlyn Gerrety pulled down nine rebounds.

The Norse finished with a 39-36 rebounding advantage and improved to 3-0 on the season when outrebounding their opponent.  NKU forced 18 turnovers by USC Upstate and shot 43.1 percent from the field on the night.

"I thought our defensive intensity was very good," Plitzuweit said.  "I thought our kids did a good job of taking care of the basketball for the most part while still attacking, and that is good for us and an area where we are getting better.  We have to continue to improve and progress, and we hit some shots tonight.  And, when you do that on the road, it puts you in a good position to be successful."

NKU improved to 3-0 on the year when scoring 71 points or more in a contest.  With the win, NKU also improved to 3-0 in the all-time series between the two programs.  The Norse won both meetings last season against the Spartans in NKU's first season as members of the Atlantic Sun.

Image and information provided by NKU Athletics




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