December 19, 2009

Last Second Free Throws Hurt Women

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Box Score | NC Season Stats | St. Mary's Recap 

GREELEY, Colo. - Six free throws in the final 1:11 lifted the St. Mary's women's basketball team past Northern Colorado on Saturday evening, 74-69.

The Gaels (9-4) held a 13-point advantage at halftime, 40-27, but the Bears (5-6) came out swinging in the second half, scoring 17 of the first 19 to take their first lead of the game at 44-42.

St. Mary's kept fighting, regaining a seven-point lead, 53-46 with 13:39 remaining, but the Bears tied the game at 55 and it was tied six more times until the final time at 69-69 with 1:11 left on the first of the six Gael free throws.

Senior guard Whitley Cox did most of the swinging, scoring 10 of the team's 17 points in the first 2.5 minutes of the second half en route to a season-best 28 points. In the four home games this year, Cox is averaging 22.3 points per game.

 "Whitley Cox played great in the second half," said Head Coach Jaime White. "I think she scored 10 (of 12) to start. She really played to her potential in the second half. She was pushing the ball in transition, drew the fouls when she needed to, pulled up when she needed to and really did a nice job. She really sparked the team.

Joining Cox in double figures in the scoring column were junior guard Courtney Stoermer with 18 and freshman forward Lauren Oosdyke with 13. The pair also led the team with six rebounds each, and Stoermer had a team-high four assists and three steals.

Both teams shot well from the field, with St. Mary's getting the slight edge, .448 to .443. The Gaels also shot .412 from beyond the arc (7-17) while the Bears shot .308 (4-13).

The Bears shot .323 in the first half, but were much more accurate in the second half, shooting a season-best .567. On the flip side, the Gaels shot .500 in the first half and .375 in the second half.

"In the first half we were a little bit hesitant in going to the basket but all of the sudden we got aggressive," said White. "I really felt good about our shooting percentage in the second half."

In regards to shooting though, Coach White pointed to free throw shooting as a major reason for the loss.

"Courtney missed one, Lauren missed one, Tori (Timm) missed some and Whitley missed some," White said. "We're not going to win games like that and that's something that we really need to do better."

Junior forward Louella Tomlinson led the Gaels with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Jontelle Smith added 11 points.

All nine players who saw action grabbed at least one rebound in the game as the Bears out-rebounded the Gaels, 37-35.

Northern Colorado returns to the hardwood on Monday at 5:05 p.m. against instate rival Colorado State. The men's game against San Jose State follows at 7:35 p.m.