HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Kentucky - Junior guard Kayla Thacker scored 17 points and senior Tiara Hopper added 16 to lead Northern Kentucky to a 71-55 victory over UNCW in collegiate women's basketball action Thursday at The Bank of Kentucky Center.
In the first meeting between the two programs, The Norse improved to 3-6 overall while the Seahawks, playing their seventh road contest in nine games, moved to 1-8 on the campaign.
Thacker and Hopper teamed up to power a potent Norse lineup that finished the game shooting 48.1 percent (26-of-54) from the floor, highlighted by a 13-of-25 (.520) effort from the field in the first half. Sophomores Kaitlyn Gerrety and Melody Doss joined the duo in double figures, chipping in 11 and 10 points, respectively. Thacker also pitched in a team-high eight rebounds and notched four steals and four assists in an all-around effort.
UNCW raced out to an early 11-4 lead, knocking down five of its first 10 field goal attempts to build the early advantage.
NKU would respond, using a jumper by Hopper to spark a 10-2 run and give the Norse a slim 14-13 edge with 9:01 remaining.
A transition layup by Lee moments later ended the NKU spurt and sent the Seahawks on a 9-4 stretch that would put UNCW back in front, 22-18, with just over six minutes remaining in the first half.
Back-to-back layups by Gerrety would once again turn momentum back in the Norse's favor, igniting a 15-2 run that was capped by a three-pointer from sophomore Melody Doss at the buzzer to put NKU in front, 31-24, at the break.
The two sides would exchange baskets through the first nine minutes of the second half before back-to-back layups from Gerrety and Doss set in motion a 16-2 spurt that would allow NKU to expand its lead to the largest margin of the evening, 67-45, with 5:38 on the clock. UNCW would tally 10 of the final 14 points of the game to determine the 16-point margin.
UNCW returns to action Dec. 30 as it entertains Richmond in a 2 p.m. matinee at Trask Coliseum. NKU is back on the floor New Years Eve with a 5 p.m. tilt versus Atlantic Sun foe Jacksonville.
The Seahawks were held below 40 percent from the floor for the fourth straight contest as it was 24-of-64 (.375) from the field for the game.
UNCW was outrebounded for the seventh time this season as the Norse posted a 38-34 advantage on the glass.
The two teams combined to commit 35 turnovers with UNCW holding an 18-17 edge in that category.
The Seahawks finished a game without recording a blocked shot for just the second time in this season (Elon).
UNCW recorded double figure assists for the fifth time this season and the fifth time in seven games as it finished with 14 helpers.
The Seahawks tallied double-digit steals for the second time this season as it ended the game with 13 thefts.
Northern Kentucky was 14-of-20 from the free-throw line while UNCW was just 2-for-4 at the charity stripe.
The Norse posted a 34-16 advantage in points in the paint, highlighted by a 18-4 edge in the first half.
Northern Kentucky's bench out-scored UNCW's reserves by a 28-0 margin. It is the first time this season that the Seahawks have gone an entire game without a point from its bench.
The Norse posted a 14-5 advantage in second-chance points, including a 9-3 margin in the second half.