November 17, 2010

Women's basketball holds on for win over Santa Clara

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GREELEY, Colo. – A 10-0 run late in the first half gave the Northern Colorado women's basketball team a 14-point lead against Santa Clara and the Bears held on for the 65-57 win in Butler-Hancock on Wednesday evening.

The Broncos (0-2) fought back to knot the score at 43-43 with 12:04 to play, but the Bears (2-1) scored 10 of the next 12 points to retain the lead and win their second straight game.

"Santa Clara's inside game really stepped up in the second half," said head coach Jaime White. "Both (Lena Gipson) and (Lindsay Leo) were very physical. I have been preaching to the team every day that our defense is going to create good offense. We were smarter in the second half in our transition game and we took better care of the ball. I also thought we did a good job of taking what was given to us by the defense."

Northern Colorado had nine steals in the game, five by freshman guard D'shara Strange and the Bears were able to score 29 points off SCU turnovers.

 "We felt the lead slipping away," White said. "They were getting the ball inside and either making shots or getting fouls. Our ability to fight back and take the lead is huge. The team felt the same way against South Dakota and knew what we had to do was score and get stops and they did that."

Strange and junior forward Kaisha Brown each scored 16 points, while senior guard Courtney Stoermer added 12. Sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke had a team-best nine rebounds and added three steals on the night. Stoermer also had a team-high four assists.

Santa Clara was led by Alyssa Shoji with 16 points, thanks in part to four deep three-pointers. Gipson scored 13 and tied for game honors with nine rebounds and Leo added 12 points. Meagan Fulps also had a game-best six assists.

The Bears continued to shoot well, connecting on .442 from the field for the game and were .333 from the arc. The team shot .682 from the free throw line, but made six of their final eight when the Broncos were fouling to try to get the ball back.

"I didn't feel great about our free throws tonight," stated White. "But we were still better than the opening game and we'll continue to work on them in practice."

Northern Colorado hits the road for the first time, traveling to Iowa City for the Hawkeye Challenge on Saturday and Sunday. The Bears play Central Michigan in the opening round and then either Northeastern or host Iowa in the second round. The game will be a homecoming for seniors Stoermer and Jayne Strand as well as Brown, who all call Iowa home.