March 4, 2009

Women Need At Least One Win And Some Help To Get In

COMPLETE NOTES: at Northern Arizona, Sacramento State

Regular Season Finale
Northern Colorado concludes the regular season with a pair of games on the road, facing Northern Arizona on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. and Sacramento State on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. (Mountain). Earlier this season, the Bears split the weekend against the two teams, falling 73-51 to Sacramento State and defeating Northern Arizona 59-53.

Taking Care of Business & A Little Help From Your Friends
The simple answer is, win one and they're in. The true answer is a little longer, but still boils down to taking care of their own destiny. A win against Northern Arizona on Thursday, coupled with an Eastern Washington loss at Montana secures Northern Colorado a berth to the Big Sky Championship for the second-straight year. A loss at Northern Arizona means a must-win at Sacramento State on Saturday as four teams fight for the final two spots. That must-win against the Hornets must also see Eastern Washington lose to either Montana or Montana State for the Bears to get in because of tie-breaking procedures.

On These Dates
Northern Colorado is 2-2 in contests on March 5 and 0-5 in games on March 7. The Bears have not played on the 5th since 2005 when they lost to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the independent tournament, 62-42. The last game on the 7th occured back in 1998 and was an NCC Tournament loss at North Dakota. The Bears have only played one conference date on the 7th with the other four being conference tournament tilts.

The Series
The Bears split the first meeting between the teams this season, dropping an 53-71 decision to Sacramento State before rebounding to defeat Northern Arizona 59-53. NC has now won three straight against the Lumberjacks after sweeping them in 2008. The Bears and Hornets have alternated wins between the squads. Northern Colorado is 3-1 all-time in Flagstaff and 0-2 in Sacramento.

Scouting The Lumberjacks
Northern Arizona is currently 8-20 on the season and right behind the Bears in the Big Sky Conference standings with a 5-10 mark. Last week, the Lumberjacks dropped a pair of decisions to Weber State (63-60) and Idaho State (62-60) at home and have lost their last four contests.

Sade Cunningham is the only Lumberjack averaging double figures in scoring, averaging 11.4 points per game, while Katie Schafer leads the team with 6.5 rebounds a contest and Cunningham gets 5.75 assists per game, which is the top mark among seniors in the league. Northern Arizona averages 60.2 points and 37.4 rebounds per game, while allowing 69.9 points and 39.8 rebounds.

Scouting The Hornets
Sacramento State also has an 8-20 record heading into its final regular season game of the year, but hold a slight edge with a 6-9 mark in Big Sky play. Last week, the Hornets split their decisions, dropping a 70-64 to Idaho State before defeating Weber State 59-53.

Charday Hunt and Atty Boyer are the top two scorers for the Hornets, averaging 13.9 and 11.0, respectively. Erika Edwards averages a team-best 8.1 rebounds a contest and is the leader in the conference with 12 games in double figures in boards. Sacramento State averages 61.2 points and 35.8 rebounds per game, while opponents average 69.2 points and 39.5 rebounds a contest.

Last Time Out
On arguably the toughest road trip in the Big Sky Conference, the Bears dropped games to Montana 71-51 and Montana State 78-69. Junior guard Whitley Cox led the team in scoring both evenings, scoring 18 at Montana and 20 at Montana State. Sophomore forward Kate Kevorken tallied her fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds in Bozeman. Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer also averaged 11.5 points, six rebounds and four assists in the two games.

First Start
Freshman guard Cassie Lambrecht became the ninth player this season to earn a start, as she was in the starting lineup against Montana on Thursday. Over the last five games, Lambrecht has averaged 20.4 minutes per game after averaging just 14.0 through the first 23 of the season. During the last five contests, Lambrecht has averaged 7.8 points per game, which is fourth on the team, and has nine assists and nine steals during the same stretch.

Lineup Shuffle
At Montana on Thursday, Head Coach Jaime White used her ninth different lineup of the season, though she has not used the same starting five more than four games in a row. Only sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer has been a starter in every game in 2008-09.

Looking For A Streak
With at least one win the next two games and an Eastern Washington loss, Northern Colorado will advance to its second-straight Big Sky Conference Tournament in just its second year of post-season eligibility. One year ago, the Bears earned the fifth-seed and faced Portland State in the quarterfinals. The Bears lost that game 82-69 and the Vikings went on to lose to Montana in the semifinals.

The Basket Is THIS Big
Against Northern Arizona, sophomore Kate Kevorken must think the rim on the basket is the size of a swimming pool. In three games against the Lumberjacks, the forward is shooting .667 (18-of-27) from the field, including making .588 (10-for-17) from beyond the arc for an average of 16.3 points.

In February
Northern Colorado closed out the month of February with a 2-5 record. Junior guard Whitley Cox led the team with an average of 17.6 points per game, while sophomore forward Kate Kevorken averaged an impressive 8.4 rebounds a contest. Sophomore forward Lara Merritt made all but one free throw in the month, making 17-of-18 for a .944 shooting percentage and sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer tallied 19 steals in the seven games.

Super Sophomores
Sophomores Kate Kevorken and Courtney Stoermer are two of the top sophomores in the Big Sky Conference. Kevorken is the top-shooting sophomore from the free throw line, connecting on .818 from the line, while Stoermer leads all sophomores in the league in scoring (13.0), assists (3.18), three-point field goal percentage (.412) and steals (2.32). Kevorken also ranks second among sophomores in three-pointers made (1.86).

Hitting The Long Ball
Sophomore forward Kate Kevorken has made 52 three-pointers this season, which ties for ninth on the all-time single-season charts at Northern Colorado. With two more she will tie Lindy Kirkland (2001-02) for eighth on the list with 54. Kevorken already ranks third on the list with her 70 triples from her freshman season. Her career tally of 122 treys also ranks fifth on the charts and she needs just seven more to tie for fourth.

Crashing The Boards
In conference play, Northern Colorado has only outrebounded the opponent three times, but have done so twice in the last three games, bettering Eastern Washington by five, 41-36 and Montana State by one, 39-38. The Bears rank eighth in conference games only in rebound margin at -5.1, moving past Idaho State (-5.3).

Lucky Number 14
At the 11:40 mark of the first half against Eastern Washington with a free throw, junior guard Whitley Cox became just the 14th player in school history with 1,000 career points. With 16 points in the game, she moved past Danielle Hagen (2003-08) into 13th on the chart. Cox continues to climb the charts and now ranks 11th after scoring 38 in the two games in Montana. She has 1,048 points and needs just four points to tie Jamie Schrier (1983-86) for 10th with 1,052 points.

Making The Free Ones
Over the last four games, Northern Colorado has raised its free throw percentage 17 points as they shot at least .833 in three of those four. The Bears are now shooting .726 for the season (432-595) and .756 (260-344) in conference play. Last season's team established the school record after making .763 of its free throws.

Twenty-Twenty Vision
In nine of 14 Big Sky Conference games this season, at least one player on the Northern Colorado roster has scored at least 20 points. Sophomore forward Kate Kevorken has scored 20 or more in four conference games, while both junior guard Whitley Cox and sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer have done so three times each.

Stop Thief
Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer tallied four more steals in the two games over the weekend to bring her season total to 65, which is second on the all-time Northern Colorado single-season chart. Stoermer needs 20 more stops to tie the all-time record of 85 by Lisa Burch in 1990-01. She has had at least one steal in 13 of the last 14 games for the Bears and has had three or more in a game nine times this season.

The Trifecta
Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer is the only player in the Big Sky Conference to be ranked among the top 15 in the league in assists, blocked shots and steals. Stoermer ranks eighth with 3.18 assists, 13th with 0.61 blocks and leads the league with 2.32 steals per game. She also ranks in the top 15 in the league in scoring (8th, 13.0), three-point field goal percentage (1st, .412), free throw percentage (10th, .750), three-pointers made (8th, 1.50) and assist-to-turnover ratio (8th, 1.19).

School Record
Sophomore center Lara Merritt tied the school record and became just the second player in the Division I era to shoot 100% from the free throw line in a game with a minimum of 10 attempts. Against Portland State, Merritt made all 11 of her attempts and Bailey Dillon made all 10 in 2005 against Utah Valley. Merritt has made 27-of-33 from the stripe in conference games, which ranks her fifth with an .818 percentage.

Stoermer Steals The Show
Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer tallied nine steals against Northern Arizona. It is the NC Division I era school record, breaking her own record of six from earlier this year at Eastern Washington and Amber Elliott from 2003. Her total is also the second-highest ever in Northern Colorado and Big Sky Conference history. It is also the second-highest total in NCAA Division I this season as four players have recorded 10 in a game in 2008-09.

Milestones
Junior guard Lizzie Cooper will be starting in her 50th career game against Northern Arizona on Thursday. She is also just 11 assists shy of 100 and eight points shy of 200 for her career at NC. Sophomore forward Kate Kevorken needs three more rebounds for her 300th.

First To 30
Junior guard Whitley Cox became just the fourth player at Northern Colorado in the Division I era to notch 30 or more points in a game. It was also the 15th time in her career she has scored 20 or more points in a game. The most points scored in a game came in the finale last season as Danielle Hagen scored 37 against Portland State in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament.

Triple Threat
The trio of Kate Kevorken (52), Courtney Stoermer (42) and Kaisha Brown (40) are dangerous from the outside. The three players have combined to make 134 three-pointers on the year, just 14 less than the Bears' opposition. Three other players, Lizzie Cooper, Cassie Lambrecht and Jamie Schroeder have all sunk 15 or more triples this season, aiding the Bears in making 193 for a league-leading 6.9 per game. The Northern Colorado single season record for three-pointers made is 265. The trio are averaging 4.79 three-pointers per game, which would rank them among the top half of all Division I teams.

Tough Luck
Center Courtney Kranz has had a tough freshman season, tearing a bicep tendon in her right arm and then against Montana State on Saturday, she fell to the ground with a high ankle sprain. She should be able to play in both games over the weekend and wants everyone to know she is still one of the sweetest and smartest people you'll ever meet.

That's A C For All You Romans
The win against Weber State marked the program's 500th all-time victory, and the record since 1974 is now 505-500. The Bears defeated the Wildcats 66-53 to hit the milestone in the 35th season of women's basketball.

What An Honor
Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer became the first Bear this season to be named the Big Sky player of the week, earning the award after scoring a career-best 24 points against Johnson & Wales. Stoermer hit 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and established a new Division I program record, shooting .900 (9-of-10) from the field. She also tallied two steals, three assists, two blocked shots and two rebounds in just 23 minutes of play. This is the first career award for Stoermer.

All-Tournament Team
Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer was named to the odwalla Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting .563 (9-16) from the floor and .818 (9-11) from the free throw line.

Among The Best
Through games played March 1, Northern Colorado ranks 27th in three-pointers made per game (6.9), 54th in free throw percentage (.726) and 65th in turnovers per game (16.1). Individually, sophomore forward Kate Kevorken ranks 61st in free throw percentage (.818) and sophomore forward Courtney Stoermer ranks 79th in steals per game (2.3).

Century Mark
Northern Colorado topped the century mark in scoring for just the 15th time in school history and the first time since 2002-03 when they scored 101 against San Jose State. The last time the Bears scored over 100 was 103 against NYIT on Dec. 6, 2003. The school record for points in a game is 115 against Norwich on Jan. 5, 1998.

The Long Ball
Northern Colorado shot .579 from beyond the arc against Air Force, establishing a new school record for three-point field goal percentage (in the Division I era). The Bears made 11-of-19, breaking the old record of .531 (17-32) at Hastings College on Feb. 5, 2004 (minimum 10 makes). Six different Bears made at least one triple.

Going Streaking
Northern Colorado has now made at least one three-pointer in 235 consecutive games, dating all the way back to Jan. 20, 2001 at South Dakota State.

Putting It In Writing
Head Coach Jaime White signed Jayne Strand to a National Letter of Intent recently. As a freshman at Kirkwood Community College, Strand averaged five points and 4.2 rebounds per game in helping the team to the Junior College National Championship. She was a three-sport athlete for the Cyclones of Ames HS, earning four letters in cross country and three each in soccer and basketball. She was a three-time all-conference selection in cross country and an honorable mention all-conference pick in basketball as a senior. She was also a multiple time honor roll selection and a two-time academic all-conference pick.