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NKU Women end season with loss to College of Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WKRC) -- Breanna Bolden scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the College of Charleston women's basketball team to a 60-54 victory over Northern Kentucky University in the second round of the Women's Basketball Invitational on Saturday night in the TD Arena.
Bolden, a Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team honoree, finished 7-for-14 from the floor and connected on four of her five attempts from the free-throw line for the College of Charleston, which improved to 19-14 overall.
It marked the second year in a row that the Cougars ended NKU's season in the WBI. Last season, the College of Charleston held on for a 72-70 victory at The Bank of Kentucky Center in the first round of the WBI.
The College of Charleston used a 9-2 run to turn a 14-13 deficit into a 22-16 advantage with 8:27 left to play in the first half, but the Norse responded with their own 9-2 surge to regain the lead at 25-24 just over three minutes later.
The Cougars answered with seven straight points to take the lead back and held a 33-27 advantage at the break. The College of Charleston shot 37.5 percent from the floor, while limiting NKU to just 27.8 from the field. The Norse only connected on five of their 10 attempts from the free-throw line in the opening 20 minutes to the Cougars' 8-for-11 effort.
Afreyea Tolbert opened the second half scoring with a layup to stretch the College of Charleston advantage to 35-27 before the Norse knocked down a trio of 3-pointers to cut their deficit to 37-36 with 15:40 remaining in the game. The Cougars then responded with a 13-4 run to take their largest lead of the game at 50-40 with 9:38 left.
Both team struggled offensively over a three minute span, until Kayla Thacker ended the scoring drought with a pair of free throws to pull NKU to within 50-42 with 4:25 remaining on the clock. During the final four minutes of the game, NKU and the College of Charleston traded baskets. The Norse slowly chipped away at the Cougar lead but were unable to overcome the deficit.
"I was very proud of our young ladies for competing tonight," NKU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. "We battled and fought but, unfortunately, we really struggled to put the ball in the basket. I believe that we got some very good looks and shots, but they just didn't seem to fall for us. We wish Charleston all the best as they continue to advance in the WBI."
The College of Charleston, which scored 24 points in the paint, finished the game shooting 31.3 percent from the floor and held NKU to just 27.3 percent from the field. The taller Cougars pulled down 17 offensive rebounds and finished with a 58-46 advantage on the boards.
Alyssa Frye finished with 12 points, while Tolbert recorded 11 points and 10 rebounds for the College of Charleston, which will face Stephen F. Austin in the semifinals next week. Jillian Brown dished out a game-high five assists and added five points for the Cougars.
Christine Roush finished with 14 points and five rebounds to lead NKU, which finished the season 18-13 on the year. Melody Doss recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds. She also blocked two shots and collected one steal and one assist. Kelley Wiegman rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Norse with 11 points and three assists.
Kaitlyn Gerrety pulled down 10 rebounds and collected three assists for the Norse, and Lauren White added five points, six rebounds and five assists. Thacker, NKU's lone senior, finished the night with eight points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. She finished her NKU career with 849 points, 524 rebounds and 62 blocked shots.
"We wish that we could've sent Kayla Thacker off on a better note than this game, but regardless of circumstance, we are incredibly proud of her and thankful for her tremendous effort on the court and in the classroom," Plitzuweit said. "She was also a fan favorite and inspired a lot of young girls in our community. We will certainly miss her a great deal as she did a phenomenal job of leading us in our first two years of Division I basketball."
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