February 26, 2009

Basketball's Bid For First Win Against Montana Falls Short

BOXSCORE: at Montana

MISSOULA, Mont. - The Northern Colorado women's basketball team battled early against the top team in the league, but the Montana Lady Griz showed why they are ranked atop the standings as they pulled away late in the first half and went on to win 71-51 in front of 3,317 fans at Dahlberg Arena. The Bears fall to 12-15 on the year and 5-8 in Big Sky Conference play, while Montana improves to 24-4 on the year and 13-1 in league action.

Freshman Cassie Lambrecht got her first career start and scored eight points, with three assists, three rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal. Junior guard Whitley Cox led all scorers with 18 points, coming off the bench, while sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer scored nine points, led the team with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Montana was led by Britney Lohman and Mandy Morales who each scored 13 points, while Sonya Rogers scored 12 and Sarah Ena chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds. Morales also had five assists and Lohman had three blocks.

Montana shot .458 from the field and a blistering .600 from the three-point line, while Northern Colorado connected on just .333 from the field and .273 from beyond the arc.

Northern Colorado hung with the Bears through most of the first half, trailing by just four with 2:36 on the clock after a Lambrecht layup, but the Lady Griz used a 10-2 run to end the half to take a 35-23 advantage into the locker room. Cox led the team in scoring in the first half with eight points, while Stoermer had five points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and the team's lone blocked shot.

Morales took over the second half, scoring the first eight points for the Lady Griz in the first two minutes, while the Bears managed just a free throw from Stoermer. Freshman Kaisha Brown scored all seven of her points and had five of her six rebounds in the second stanza.

In other games in the league tonight, Idaho State defeated Sacramento State 70-64 and Weber State defeated Northern Arizona 53-50. With those outcomes, Northern Colorado is now tied for fifth at 5-8 with Eastern Washington. UM is first at 13-1, Portland State is second at 12-1, Montana State is third at 6-7 and Idaho State is fourth at 6-8. Northern Arizona and Sacramento State are tied for seventh at 5-9 and Weber State is ninth at 4-10.

Northern Colorado plays next at Montana State on Saturday. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.