LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Northern Colorado women's basketball team was never able to recover from a slow start in the second game of the Preseason WNIT, falling 55-43 at Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday evening.
The Trojans (1-1) jumped out to a 17-5 lead in the first half and the Bears (0-2) could never shrink the lead under five despite great play from junior guard Courtney Stoermer who ended with a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds.
"The positive thing is we shot 41 percent from the three-point line and 50 percent in the second half from the field," said Head Coach Jaime White. "I felt good about the score and keeping it low. We're trying to take baby steps and hopefully tomorrow night is a little different.
Northern Colorado shot just 24 percent from the field in the first half, but bounced back to shoot 50 in the second stanza. The team also connected on 83.3 percent from the free throw line, making 10-of-12 attempts.
"We can't turn the ball over 22 times and win," said White. "I don't think Whitley had a great game tonight, but she came out and played hard in the second half and I'm proud of her for that."
Cox ended the game with eight points and a team-best three assists, but had six turnovers and shot just 2-of-18 from the field. She and freshman Lauren Oosdyke both were second on the team with six rebounds each.
White had to resort to a smaller lineup much of the second half as both Lara Merritt and Jayne Strand were saddled with four fouls and combined to play just 24 minutes.
UALR was led by Chastity Reed with 21 points and 10 rebounds, her second double-double of the season, while Kim Sitzmann also scored in double figures with 14 points and six assists. The Trojans connected on .345 from the field and shot just .176 (3-for-17) from the three-point line. They also shot well from the free throw line, hitting 12-of-14 for .857.
After going down 17-5, the Bears scored six straight and outscored the Trojans 13-8 the remainder of the half for the 25-18 score. Stoermer led the team with seven points and five rebounds, while Brown added six points and Oosdyke had four boards.
Stoermer and Cox combined for all but three points in the second half, as Stoermer scored 14 to give her 21 on the evening and Cox scored all eight of her points in the final 20 minutes. Brown hit a three-pointer late for the only other bucket.
The Bears meet Eastern Illinois in the final round of the WNIT on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (Central). The Panthers dropped an 84-80 decision to UTEP in the first game of the evening.