---NKU’s Cassie Brannen attempts a shot against Fayetteville State during the first half Monday night. Brannen finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots as NKU posted a 93-80 win.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - No one throws a block party quite like the women’s basketball team at Northern Kentucky University. And the Norse’s latest rejection bash featured a school record-tying 15 blocks during a 93-80 win over Fayetteville State on Monday night in the Travel America Classic.

Angela Healy scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for NKU, which is ranked 13th nationally in the NCAA Division II poll. The Norse jumped out to a 29-11 lead in the opening 10 minutes by constantly beating Fayetteville State’s full-court press. Healy, a senior center from Highlands High School, added four blocked shots as the Norse (6-1) won their fourth consecutive game.

“We were just running our press-breaks like we always do, but we were being aggressive yet smart with the ball,” Healy said of NKU’s fast start against Fayetteville State’s press. “We were taking what was there. I think it says a lot about our ballhandling, especially against the pressure.”

The Norse also played well defensively, allowing the Lady Broncos to shoot just 36.7 percent from the field. NKU entered Monday’s game as the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s No. 1 shot-blocking team with an average of 8.0 blocks per game. The Norse nearly doubled that total against Fayetteville State, which pressed the entire game.

Cassie Brannen added 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for NKU. Brannen, a junior post player who owns the Norse single-game record with 12 blocks, combined with Healy for 28 points and 17 rebounds in the first half as NKU settled for a 41-34 lead at the break.

“I thought we came out and took it to them in the first seven or eight minutes of the game. Then I think they kind of raised their level of intensity,” NKU head coach Nancy Winstel said. “We kind of backed off a little bit and were not as aggressive as we were defensively. At the beginning of the second half, we got our act together. In the first five or six minutes of the second half, I thought we played very well.”

Junior guard Danyelle Echoles and freshman center Kendra Caldwell combined for 21 points in the second half off the NKU bench. Echoles netted 11 points and had four assists, while Caldwell scored a career-high 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots.

---NKU’s Nicole Chiodi dribbles past Mercedes Humphries during the first half Monday. Chiodi finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Norse prevailed, 93-80.

NKU committed 30 turnovers against Fayetteville State’s pressure. The Lady Broncos, however, finished with 25 turnovers and made just 51.4 percent (18-for-35) of their free throws.

Fayetteville State head coach Eric Tucker was ejected from the game in the second half after being assessed with a second technical foul. NKU led by as many as 23 points and improved to 2-0 all-time against the Lady Broncos.

“They played a lot of kids, so that means they have a long bench. He (Tucker) played 14 kids and had a lot of fouls to give, so I thought they were able to be really aggressive,” Winstel said. “I thought they were very physical because they were able to throw a lot of people out there at us. I don’t have that many. I’ve only got 10, so we don’t play that way.”

Winstel also liked seeing a different style of play, which Fayetteville provided the entire evening.

“It was good for us to play a team that gets after you and goes after you because there are many different ways to play basketball,” she said. “We’ve only been seeing one way in particular, and that is whether you’re zoning us or playing man-to-man, you’re just going to collapse and double on our blocks and force us to make outside shots. We haven’t seen teams that pick us up full-court.”

Junior guard Jessie Slack added 15 points and five rebounds for the Norse, who finished with a 55-42 rebounding advantage. NKU was 35-for-50 at the free-throw line to offset a 2-for-15 evening from 3-point range.

Nicole Chiodi was the sixth NKU player in double figures with 10 points. The senior point guard also dished out five assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

NKU will meet St. Andrews (N.C.) Tuesday at 7:30 in the finale of the two-day event. St. Andrews dropped a 73-56 decision to Kentucky Wesleyan on Monday.

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