November 17, 2008

Women's Basketball Opens Home Season Tuesday

Complete Release: Northern Colorado-San Jose State

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Home Sweet Home

The Bears kick off the home portion of their schedule on Tuesday against San Jose State. Northern Colorado won its season opener in convincing fashion over Air Force 73-53, while the Spartans fell by one to Oregon, 69-68 on Saturday. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.

Scouting The Spartans

Oregon made a free throw with seven seconds left to lift them to the 69-68 win over San Jose State in both teams season openers. The Spartans went just 3-28 a year ago and return two starters from that team in Natalie White and Sayja Sumler. White scored a career-best 27 points and led the team with seven rebounds in the loss to the Ducks. She was the only player to score in double figures

Against The League

Northern Colorado sports an all-time record of 7-10 against teams currently in the Western Athletic Conference. The Bears also play host New Mexico State of the WAC in their next home game on Dec. 16.

Home Openers

Northern Colorado is 20-14 in the first game of the season played at home and 3-2 since the reclassification to Division I began in 2003-04. Last season, the Bears defeated San Francisco 75-51 in the first game of the year en route to an 8-6 record in Butler-Hancock. Northern Colorado sports an all-time record of 243-164 in Butler-Hancock since the doors opened in February, 1975.

Last Time Out

Using a 22-0 scoring run midway through the first half, the Northern Colorado women's basketball team won a 73-53 decision at the Air Force Academy in both teams season openers. Freshman guard Cassie Lambrecht, sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer and sophomore guard Kate Kevorken all scored in double figures, notching 13,12 and 11, respectively, while junior guard Whitley Cox led with five rebounds. Stoermer also led the team with five assists and three steals, while senior forward Jamie Schroeder tallied a career-best two blocks. The Bears shot .509 from the field for the game, including .579 from beyond the arc where they made 11 of 19 attempts.

Steady Hands

The starting five for the Bears against Air Force Academy (Cooper, Cox, Merritt, Schroeder & Stoermer) tallied 13 assists with just two turnovers in 107 of the 200 minutes of the game. The whole team had an even assist-to-turnover with 15 assists and 15 turnovers in the game. Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer led the way with five assists and no turnovers in 26 minutes of play.

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 with freshman Kaisha Brown and sophomore Kate Kevorken each sinking three.

Board Meeting

Nine different players pulled in multiple rebounds in the team's 20-point victory over Air Force. Junior guard Whitley Cox led the club with five rebounds, while both sophomore Lara Merritt and senior Jamie Schroeder grabbed four. The Bears tallied 33 rebounds in the contest, losing the battle of the boards as the Falcons grabbed 39.

Exhibition Review

The Bears won both exhibition games, defeating Regis 85-71 and Colorado State-Pueblo 70-53. Against Regis, five Bears were in double figures in scoring, led by senior Jamie Schroeder with 14 and she led all players with nine rebounds. Junior Whitley Cox scored 13, freshman Kaisha Brown had 12, sophomore Courtney Stoermer added 11 and freshman Cassie Lambrecht chipped in 10. Against CSU-Pueblo, Brown scored a team-best 14 points, while Schroeder scored 13. Cox was one point shy of a double-double as she scored nine and brought down 11 boards to go along with six assists.

Gaining Respect

The Big Sky Conference announced recently the 2008-09 preseason polls for women's basketball and the Bears were chosen to finish fourth by both the coaches and media after finishing fifth a year ago. Montana was picked to repeat as champions, while Portland State and Montana State were nabbed second and third, respectively.

A New Voice

For the third straight season, Northern Colorado welcomes a new play-by-play voice to the KFKA broadcasts. Chris Lewis will handle the call for the Bears all season and can be found on the dial at 1310 AM or www.1310kfka.com.

All-Conference Award Winners

Forward Jamie Schroeder was named the 2007-08 Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in a vote by the league's nine head coaches. She also earned honorable mention all-conference honors, while center Danielle Hagen was named to the Big Sky All-Conference Second Team.

Oh So Close

Guard Kate Kevorken finished the 2007-08 season just two three-pointers shy of the Northern Colorado single season record of 72. Her 70 triples ties for third with Amber Elliott from 2003-04, while it also ranks as the ninth most in Big Sky Conference history and was the third highest total in the league behind Rebecca Mercer (Montana State) who had 78 and Sonya Rogers (Montana) who made 72.

Winning Ways

The 14 wins by Northern Colorado were the most since the 2003-04 season when the university began the reclassification process to Division I (16-11). In 2006-07, the Bears were just 5-24 and 2-14 in Big Sky play, while they finished 14-16 and went 8-8 in league action for the 11th best turnaround in Division I.

Making The Freebies

Last season's team ended the year shooting .763 from the free throw line, breaking the old school record of .719 from 1989-90. The percentage ranked third in the Big Sky Conference and 18th in the NCAA Division I statistics. NC improved its overall free throw percentage during every month of the season. The Bears started the year shooting just .696 in November, then shot .738 in December, .778 in January, .810 in February and .803 during the four games in March.

Freshmen Tandem

Northern Colorado had the best freshmen tandem in the Big Sky Conference last season in Courtney Stoermer and Kate Kevorken. The pair combined for 626 points, 257 rebounds, 144 assists, 25 blocked shots and 56 steals.

Bears Among National Leaders

Center Danielle Hagen ended the season ranked 34th among Division I players in rebounds with 9.4 per game and 62nd in free throw percentage, shooting .821 from the charity stripe. Forward Jamie Schroeder was 46th in the same category, hitting at an .832 clip. Guard Kate Kevorken also ranked 89th in three-point field goal percentage at .350 and 57th in three-pointers made per game, hitting 2.3 a game. The team ranked 23rd in the same category with their 6.8 a contest and were 18th in free throw percentage, shooting .761 from the charity stripe.

Going Streaking

Northern Colorado has now made at least one three-pointer in 208 consecutive games, dating all the way back to Jan. 20, 2001 at South Dakota State.

On The Horizon

Northern Colorado continues to inch closer to a large program milestone. The win against Air Force marked the 494th win in program history and the team now needs six for 500. The Bears are 494-484 all-time.

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.

Say Hello

The Bears welcomed seven new players to the family in the offseason and several made immediate impacts during the exhibition games, with others expected to contribute after redshirt seasons. Kaisha Brown scored in double figures in both contests, joining NC from Spirit Lake Iowa, bringing the total of Iowa players to three on the roster (Chelsie Luhring, Courtney Stoermer). A trio of Colorado players joined the Bears in Cassie Lambrecht, who is the younger sister of former Bear Kendra, Victoria Timm from Holyoke HS and Ashlyn Rhule, who originally went to the University of Wyoming to run cross country. Forward Lauren Oosdyke becomes the second California player, joining Kate Kevorken, while center Courtney Kranz hails from Mendota Heights, Minn. The lone junior college player to join the squad is center Brittany Fernandez, who hails from Kansas City via Butler County Community College where she was rivals with senior Jamie Schroeder while Schroeder played at Colby Community College.

Looking Ahead

The Bears will hit the road for five away from the friendly confines of Butler-Hancock. On Nov. 22, Northern Colorado plays at Pacific and then heads to San Francisco for the Odwalla Classic on Thanksgiving weekend where they play Washington State on Friday and San Francisco on Saturday. The Bears then face in-state rivals Colorado State on Dec. 6 and at UMKC on the 13th before returning home.