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Norse Women Fall in Opening Round of WBI

USC Upstate's Brittany Starling netted a layup with five seconds to play, handing USC Upstate a 71-69 upset victory over the Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team in the opening round of the Women's Basketball Invitational on Thursday evening at BB&T Arena.

The Norse battled back from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter with five-straight points split between Kasey Uetrecht and Molly Glick. The Norse trailed 67-66 with 2:22 on the clock.

A Uetrecht triple with 25 seconds to play knotted the game at 65 apiece. Rebecca Lyttle blocked USC Upstate's first layup attempt, but Starling sank the second-chance bucket for the 71-69 result.

Uetrecht posted 14 points to lead four Norse players in double figures.

Molly Franson added her first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, nine of which came on the defensive end.

Courtney Roush poured in 13 points, all coming in the second quarter, while Shar'Rae Davis posted 12.

NKU used an 11-3 run to overcome an early 7-0 deficit in the first quarter. Molly Franson contributed five points to the run to help NKU to its first lead of the game at 11-10.

The Norse defense held the Spartans (21-11) to two of their last 11 attempts from the floor, but a pair of trips to the free throw line helped Upstate to a 16-13 lead heading to the second quarter.

A 13-4 run to start the second period pushed NKU to a 25-20 lead as they forced five turnovers in the second period and out-scored Upstate, 29-14.

Courtney Roush netted 13 points within a five minute span, helping NKU out to a 42-30 lead at the half.

USC Upstate returned to the court and shot 9-of-13 from the field including 3-of-4 from long range in the third quarter to chip away at the deficit. Upstate took a 53-51 lead at the 2:03 mark as the Norse struggled to overcome the hot-shooting Spartans.

USC Upstate led throughout the first four minutes of the final quarter until a Franson jumper locked the game at 61-61. The Spartans then pulled away to lead by six headed to the final possessions.

NKU finishes its season at 19-14, tying the team's high-water mark for wins in the Division I  era.

NORSE NOTES:

  • The Norse bench outscored Upstate's reserves, 37-11.
  • Uetrecht, a Horizon League All-Tournament Team selection, averaged 16.8 points across NKU's four postseason games.
  • Similarly, Franson averaged 11 points per game in the postseason and 4.3 rebounds.
  • Rianna Gayheart ends her career at NKU with 349 total assists, passing Melissa Wood for 10th on the all-time list.

From NKU Athletics