Late Rally Does In Women's Basketball
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Eastern Illinois scored 15 of the final 17 points of the game to come back and defeat the Northern Colorado women's basketball game in the third and final round of the Preseason WNIT. The Bears (0-3) led a majority of the game, but the Panthers (1-2) were extremely tough from the free throw line (24-for-27, .889) to sneak out the victory at the Jack Stephens Center on the campus of Arkansas-Little Rock.
Northern Colorado had a balanced attack in the scoring column as four Bears hit double figures, led by junior guard Courtney Stoermer with 18 points. Freshman Lauren Oosdyke tallied her first double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while senior guard Whitley Cox scored 14 and sophomore guard Kaisha Brown chipped in 12. Stoermer also led the team with four assists and two steals.
"Lauren Oosdyke had a great game," said Head Coach Jaime White. "She had a double-double and we had four players in double digits this game, which was great. We thought we got better this game and we did get better throughout the tournament. The problem is if we hit a few more free throws we win this game, a little bit of our nemesis."
Ta'Kenya Nixon led the Panthers with a double-double, scoring 18 and grabbing 11 rebounds, with 16 of her points coming in the second half. She also had seven assists and two steals on the afternoon. Maggie Kloak also scored in double figures with 10.
The Bears struggled from the free throw line for the first time this season, making just 25 of 40 (.625). In the exhibition games, the team also struggled, but connected on over 80 percent in the first two regular season contests of the year. They shot .365 from the field (19-52) and .304 (7-23) from beyond the arc. Eastern Illinois shot .344 from the floor (22-64) and .353 from the three-point line (6-17). The Panthers also out-rebounded the Bears 51-34, including 22 on the offensive end of the floor.
The team tallied just 13 turnovers in the contest, well below the average of 19.5 per game they had entering this afternoon. The Bears also forced 20 turnovers in the contest.
Trailing 11-6 early in the first half the Bears used a 9-0 run thanks in part to five free throws by Oosdyke to take a 15-11 advantage. The Panthers knotted the score at 15-15, but NC scored eight of the next 10 points and took a five-point lead into the locker room at the break, 37-32.
Eastern Illinois scored seven of the first 10 points in the second stanza to pull within one, 40-39 and then took its first lead since 11-9 at 46-45 on two free throws by Nixon. Trailing 51-49, Northern Colorado went on a 9-1 run to regain a 58-52 lead. They extended the lead to nine points on a basket by Oosdyke, 68-59 but the Panthers scored 15 of the final 17 for the 74-70 victory.
"We've got big games coming up with Northridge and Providence and we'll come home and work on free throws before heading to that tournament," stated White.
The Bears remain on the road, heading to Northridge, Calif., for the Northridge Thanksgiving Tournament. Northern Colorado faces the host Matadors on Friday evening at 7:00 (Pacific) and then take on Providence on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific).