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NKU women grab a home win over Jacksonville

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (WKRC) -- Kelley Wiegman scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team to a 69-61 victory over Jacksonville in Atlantic Sun Conference action on Saturday at The Bank of Kentucky Center.

Wiegman, who scored 16 points in the second half, finished 6-for-10 from the floor and knocked down a career-high five 3-pointers for NKU, which improved to 14-10 overall and 10-3 in the Atlantic Sun.  The freshman guard from Cincinnati, Ohio, dished out four assists and collected two steals.

"Kelly hit some really big shots for us, and we ask a lot out of her," NKU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.  "Last game, we asked her to guard a player who, at the time, was really hot and scoring well and thought she did a good job.  Tonight, we asked her to defend a player who really hurt us last time, so we ask her do to a lot defensively, and offensively she played really, really well."

On the defensive end, Wiegman grabbed all five of her rebounds to stall several Jacksonville runs in the second half.

"Coach said we need to get the rebounds, so we make that a goal of ours to box out as best we can and go after it," Wiegman said.  "Rebounds are all about hustle, so I just went after it."

Melody Doss finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Kayla Thacker added 12 points and six rebounds for the Norse, who avenged a 67-56 loss at Jacksonville on Jan. 18 for their first conference loss of the season.

NKU scored the first 10 points of the game and limited Jacksonville to just one field goal through the first 8:51 of the game.  The Norse built their lead to 22-8 with 10:08 left in the first half, but the Dolphins used an 11-4 run to cut the deficit to seven (26-19) at the 5:36 mark.

Thacker drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to regain a double digit (29-19) lead for NKU with 4:29 left in the half.  Jacksonville responded with six straight points to come to within 29-25 with 1:41 on the clock, but the Norse held on a for a 31-27 advantage at the break.

"During the stretch where we built a lead, they switched defense," Plitzuweit said.  "We continued to play well and they switched again, and we got some really good looks that just didn't fall.  Our team continued to shoot the ball and gave us a chance to separate again."

Jacksonville started the second half with a basket by Sherranda Reddick to bring the Dolphins to within two (31-29), and the two teams traded runs until NKU built its lead to 56-45 with 5:16 left in the game on a 3-pointer by Wiegman.

Queen Alford scored five of the next six Jacksonville points to cut the Dolphin deficit to 56-51 with 3:59 on the clock.  Christine Roush forced a turnover and drove the length of the court on the next Dolphins possession, converting a conventional three-point play to stretch the Norse advantage back to eight (59-51) with just over three minutes left.

The two teams traded points over the next two minutes, and Thacker knocked down two free throws to give NKU a 65-59 advantage with just under a minute left in the game.  Reddick missed a 3-pointer on the other end, and Kelley Wiegman hit two free throws for a 67-59 Norse lead.

Ronisha Mitchell's jumper with 28 seconds remaining in the game was followed by two more free throws by Thacker to seal the victory for NKU.

Jacksonville, which fell to 13-10 on the year and 7-5 in the Atlantic Sun, finished with a 47-27 rebounding advantage, but the NKU defense blocked nine shots to tie the all-time series between the programs at 2-all.  The Dolphins pulled down 19 offensive boards and turned the ball over 17 times.

"We tried to do the best job we could of containing Jacksonville," Plitzuweit said. "Jacksonville is so athletic and played really, really hard, and I thought that was really a challenge for us.  We tried to keep them off the glass, but obviously they were able to at least with the offensive rebounds anyway.  But overall, our kids found a way tonight.  They were gritty and tough, and they really took advantage of some scenarios to be an equal-opportunity team."

The Norse shot 44.6 percent from the field after finishing 13-for-26 in the second half.  NKU knocked down 10 3-pointers, marking the third time in two weeks the Norse connected on 10 or more attempts from behind the arc, while dishing out 20 assists on 25 made shots.

Kaitlyn Gerrety finished with eight points on 4-for-7 shooting from the floor for NKU.  She also collected six rebounds and five assists as she blocked a career-high five shots.  Christine Roush added seven points and was perfect (3-for-3) from the free-throw line, while Lauren White added five points, five rebounds and four assists.

Alford led four Jacksonville players in double figures with 17 points and 10 rebounds.  Stephanie Edwards finished with 12 points and four assists, while Reddick and Briona Brown each added 10 points.  Brown also grabbed six rebounds for the Dolphins.

Image and information provided by NKU Athletics

 

 

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