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Doss, Thacker honored by the Atlantic Sun Conference

MACON, Ga. (WKRC) -- Two Northern Kentucky University women's basketball players have been honored by the Atlantic Sun Conference for their performance during the 2013-14 season, the league announced on Monday.

Melody Doss earned first-team All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors, while Kayla Thacker was named to the league's second team.  The Atlantic Sun office announced the selections as it prepares for the conference's postseason tournament, which is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Doss and Thacker were the top two scorers for the Norse, who finished the regular season 17-12 overall and 13-5 in the Atlantic Sun.  They helped NKU capture its 31st consecutive winning season with a 61-57 victory over Lipscomb on Feb. 22, and are looking to earn the team's second straight postseason berth.

Doss, a junior forward from Greenwood, Ind., emerged as the top Norse player in several categories this season.  She averaged 15.3 points per game, which ranked fifth in the Atlantic Sun, while shooting 48.3 percent from the floor to rank sixth in the conference.  She also led the team in defensive rebounds with 144 and blocked shots with 43.  Doss shot 37.8 percent from behind the 3-point arc and knocked down 86.2 percent of her free-throw attempts. She also pulled down 6.5 rebounds per game and scored in double digits 22 times, including the first eight games of the season.

She began the year by capturing three of the first four conference player of the week honors and added her fourth award on Jan. 6. Doss, who becomes the first Norse player to earn first-team recognition, scored a career-high 29 points against Illinois State on 11-for-12 shooting from the floor in the second game of the season on Nov. 13. She also set personal bests in rebounds with 13 against Mercer on Jan. 9 and assists with six against the Bears on Feb. 6.

"This is a tremendous honor for Mel and for our program," NKU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.  "We are thrilled for her to receive this recognition.  Mel has continued to improve throughout her career, and we hope that she maintains this upward trajectory."

Thacker, a senior guard from Mt. Washington, Ky., began her final season by being chosen to the preseason all-conference team and received player of the week honors on Feb. 3. She started every game she played in this season and finished the year averaging 12.6 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game.  She scored in double figures 20 times, including 11 of the last 12 games.

She led NKU in 3-pointers made with 54, which ranked fifth in the conference, 3-pointers attempted at 154, offensive rebounds with 52, and 976 minutes played, which was fourth best in the league. Thacker shot 35.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc on the year and collected 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.

As NKU's lone senior, Thacker set career highs in points with 24 points against Lipscomb on Feb. 22 and 16 rebounds against Kennesaw State on Feb. 8.  She dished out five assists at Mercer on Feb. 6 top her previous best of four set multiple times.  Over her four-year career, she recorded 816 career points, 510 rebounds, 160 assists, 114 steals and 60 blocked shots.

"Kayla has had an outstanding senior campaign, and we could not be more excited for her to receive this honor," Plitzuweit said.  "She is not only an integral part of our offense, but she is also responsible to guard our opponent's greatest threat.  Kayla has continued to develop as a basketball player, as a leader, and as a confident young woman, and we are all incredibly proud of her."

Florida Gulf Coast's Sarah Hansen was selected as the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year for the second straight season, while Mercer's Teanna Robinson was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year.  Stetson's Amber Porter earned Freshman of the Year honors, and Lipscomb's Ashley Southern received Newcomer of the Year accolades.  Karl Smesko from Florida Gulf Coast was chosen as the Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season.

Information courtesy NKU Athletics



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