January 22, 2009

It Takes Extra Minutes, But Women's Hoops Gets Big Win

BOX SCORE: Montana State

GREELEY, Colo. - Scoring almost as many points in the five minute overtime as they did in the first half, the Northern Colorado women's basketball team defeated Montana State in a thrilling Big Sky Conference game at Butler-Hancock on Thursday evening. The Bears scored 21 in overtime, compared with 26 from the first half en route to the 88-82 victory.

Northern Colorado (9-9, 3-2 BSC) led by as many as 12 points with 8:12 remaining in the second half, but Montana State (8-10, 2-4 BSC) made a run and forced the overtime.

Junior guard Whitley Cox, coming off the bench, scored a career-best 31 points, while sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer continued her hot shooting, adding 22, while sophomore forward Kate Kevorken chipped in 15 and led the Bears with eight rebounds. Both Kevorken and sophomore center Lara Merritt led the squad with three assists and Stoermer and Cox each had three steals.

"Tonight she played like a leader, played like a junior and we need that," said Head Coach Jaime White, talking about Cox. "We challenged our team, told them it was a great opportunity for them to get a win at home and I thought we were just watching it pass us in the first half, so we kind of said this is our time. We turned up the pressure a little bit, I thought Courtney Stoermer got going in the second half, and we need her to get going."

Montana State was led by Erica Perry with 20 points, five assists and six steals and both she and Jenny Heringer tallied nine rebounds. Heringer also added 19 points, while Lyndi Seidensticker scored 14.

Stoermer, Cox and junior guard Lizzie Cooper had seven, six and five points respectively in the overtime period as the Bears hit 12-of-13 from the free throw line. Stoermer and Cox also both had two of their three steals in the final five minutes. Perry also scored seven of her 20 points in the game in the overtime.

The Bears shot just .385 from the field and .556 (5-of-9) from the free throw line in the first half, but turned it up, shooting .456 from the field and .786 (11-of-14) from the charity stripe in the second half and .667 (4-for-6) from the field and .923 (12-of-13) from the free throw line in overtime.

It was the first overtime game of the year for Northern Colorado and the first in the career of Coach White. The last overtime contest for NC was exactly three years ago, Jan. 22, 2006 when the Bears fell 72-71 at Lamar. The last overtime win for the Bears prior to Thursday evening was Feb. 3, 2004 at Texas Pan-American and the last home overtime game was an 84-80 win against Saint Cloud State on Jan. 2, 2003.

Northern Colorado returns to the court on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. against first-place Montana. The Lady Griz are currently 16-3 on the year and 5-0 in Big Sky Conference action.