November 13, 2009

Women's Basketball Drops Opener At New Mexico


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - In the opening round of the Preseason WNIT, the Northern Colorado women's basketball team dropped an 81-59 decision at the University of New Mexico in front of 7,068 fans.

The Bears were led by senior Whitley Cox with 14 points, while redshirt freshman Lauren Oosdyke tallied 13 points and tied for the team lead with seven rebounds with junior guard Courtney Stoermer.  Cox also led the club with four assists and three steals.

New Mexico was led by senior guard Amy Beggin with 16 points and four assists. Valerie Kast came off the bench to score 13 and block two shots, while Lauren Taylor scored 12 and Jessica Kielpinski chipped in 11. Amanda Best grabbed a team-best six rebounds.

Northern Colorado shot .310 from the field for the game and hit just 2-of-20 from beyond the arc. They did shot .818 from the free throw line, however, making 21-of-26. New Mexico shot .426 from the floor and .353 from the three-point line. They also shot .821 from the charity stripe.

"We played a much better second half of basketball," said Head Coach Jaime White. "We really crashed the boards hard and I'm proud of the way the team responded. This was a great experience to start our season with the crowd."

In the first half, Cox led the Bears with nine points, three rebounds and two steals, while Strand also tied for the team lead with three rebounds. The Bears shot .308 from the field and were much improved from the exhibition games at the charity stripe, connecting on .800 (4-of-5). New Mexico shot .367 from the floor and .846 (11-of-13) from the free throw line. The Lobos capitalized on NC turnovers, scoring 17 points on 11 takeaways.

Stoermer scored the first point of the game, making a free throw with 17:33 on the clock and a Cox three-pointer tied the score at 6-6 at the 15:06 mark. Leading 9-8, New Mexico went on an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 17-8 before Oosdyke snapped the streak with a free throw. Her free throw started a seven-point run for the Bears as they closed within two, 17-15. The Lobos then scored 13 of the next 15 points and took a 36-21 lead into the break.

Northern Colorado matched New Mexico in the second half, getting outscored by just six, 45-38 but outrebounding them 26 to 16.

In the game, the Bears took advantage of offensive rebounds, scoring 14 second chance points, compared to just six from the Lobos.

In other first round action Ohio State defeated Eastern Illinois 91-68, West Virginia defeated Towson 79-42, Florida Gulf Coast beat UTEP 66-54, Oklahoma State beat Arkansas-Little Rock 67-58, Georgia Tech topped Winthrop 63-30, Bowling Green defeated Chicago State 76-41 and Marist beat North Carolina A&T 80-64.

The announcement of the Bears' next game in the tournament will be released on Saturday morning.