The Northern Kentucky women's basketball team coasted to a 68-55 victory over East Tennessee State Monday at the Bank of Kentucky Center.
The Norse (5-8, 2-2 Atlantic Sun) continued to play well at home as they are now 4-1 and are 56-8 since moving to the facility in 2008.
The biggest reason for their success was Kayla Thacker who scored a career best 20 points and also added six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Melody Doss was the only other player to finish in double figures for NKU, but did have 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Serena Clark was the driving force for the Buccaneers (3-7, 1-2) as she had 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals. Brianna McQueen also had 10 points.
ETSU held an early lead over the Norse, but Ellen Holton and Jaimie Hamlet kept NKU close behind. Holton scored six of her eight points in the opening nine minutes. Hamlet scored all nine of her points in the first seven minutes.
The Norse took a 16-14 lead on a 3-pointer by Thacker, but Shawn Randall tied the game at 16 with a layup. That's as close as the Buccaneers would get the rest of the game. The Norse went on a 30-22 run to finish the half thanks in part to eight points off the bench from Doss.
NKU opened the second half by going on an 11-2 run and built its lead up to 57-40. ETSU would get as close as 11, but turnovers and missed free throws (1-9 on the day) doomed the Buccaneers.
The Norse left the door open as they failed to record any points in the final 4:30 of the second half. This led head coach Dawn Plitzuweit to question, "Have we made a shot in the last three minutes?"
Fortunately for NKU, ETSU could only get a layup off a steal by Clark in that same time frame.
The Norse will return to action on Jan. 12 when they host Lipscomb (2-12, 1-3) with tip-off set for noon. The Bisons are coming off a last second victory against USC Upstate, but had lost six straight and 11 of 12 prior to Monday's win.
A full box score can be seen here.