BOX SCORE: vs Washington State
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The commercials ring true, "No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night." Northern Colorado women's basketball, staying at a Holiday Inn Express, came out fast and held on when Washington State mounted a furious comeback, winning 86-79 in the first round of the odwalla Classic, hosted by San Francisco.
The Bears (3-1) led the entire game, though the Cougars (2-2) hit a couple of big shots to close within seven with 1:30 remaining, but free throws down the stretch gave NC the victory.
Sophomore Kate Kevorken led the team with 23 points, while senior forward Jamie Schroeder added 20, with 10 coming from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer added 15 points and five assists, while junior guard Whitley Cox scored 12. Schroeder also led the club with seven rebounds.
"We had a great first half," said Head Coach Jaime White. "Almost our best first-half yet this year and we had a little bit of a heart-attack there in the second half. We knew their kids (Washington State) were going to come back, knew they were going to fight for everything that they could get. Our kids did a pretty good job, even when they (WSU) made that comeback, we really stepped up and made some shots."
Washington State was led by Jazmine Perkins with 24 points and all eight of her rebounds were offensive. April Cook scored 22, while Heather Molzen tallied 18 and led the game with nine boards.
Northern Colorado shot .574 from the field for the contest (27-47) and hit .500 from the arc (10-20). They also shot .815 at the charity stripe (22-27). Washington State shot .403 from the field (31-77) and hit .261 (6-23) from the three-point line. They also shot .688 (11-16) from the free throw line.
Kevorken scored the first eight points for the Bears, hitting back-to-back three's to open up the scoring, hitting nothing but net for six points in the first 40 seconds. Stoermer and Schroeder also each hit layups as NC built a 12-2 lead early. Washington State scored six of eight to pull within eight, 14-6, but NC used another 7-0 run to extend the advantage to 21-8. WSU again used another run, scoring nine of 12 to pull within seven, but Stoermer knocked down a three-pointer for the 27-17 lead with 8:45 to play.
Northern Colorado hit only three-pointers from the 11:47 mark to 5:25 when Brown sunk a pair of free throws and after a Schroeder layup, the Bears led 40-23 and took a 47-27 advantage into the break. NC shot .654 in the first half from the field (17-26) and sunk 8-of-12 three-pointers for a .667 percentage. They also made all five free throw attempts. Washington State shot .324 from the field (12-37) and just .111 (1-9) from beyond the arc. They also hit both free throw attempts.
Coming into the contest, Washington State had allowed opponents to hit just five three-pointers and the Bears hit eight in the first stanza alone. The rebounds were equal at 17 each at the break, however the Cougars had 10 offensive, while the Bears had just two.
"Shooting was great. We mismatched them a little bit with Kate being able to shoot the three. Their big kid didn't want to have anything to do with defending her out there. Kate was focused and knew she could get her shots off quickly. We knew we could put some pressure on them that way and open up the inside game."
Washington State scored the first three points of the second half and after each team scored four straight, Stoermer hit another three to put her in double figures in points. With 12:05 left in the game, Washington State started a 13-0 run, closing the score to 11 at 62-51 with 9:30 on the board.
Schroeder snapped the Cougars scoring streak, hitting both of her free throws and then a layup. Kevorken followed with a layup of her own for the 68-51 lead. WSU scored 14 of 20 to cut the lead to 10 at 74-64 and a three-pointer by Cook with 49.6 on the clock cut the lead to eight, 82-74.
Northern Colorado did a great job of hitting its free throws down the stretch, making 9-of-12 in the final 2:35 for the victory.
The Bears do not get much rest as they face host San Francisco tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific). The game will be a double-header as the USF men's team hosts Bears' rival Colorado State.