November 21, 2010

Turnovers again prove costly for women's basketball

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – For the second straight game, turnovers and free throws did in the Northern Colorado women's basketball team. The Bears had 24 turnovers and Northeastern made 10 of its final 11 free throws in the last 2:30 of the game to hold on to the 61-53 victory in the consolation game of the Hawkeye Challenge.

"I really thought we started flat and I don't know if our kids were ready for that pressure (defense by Northeastern)," said Head Coach Jaime White. "It's hard to bounce back after a tough loss like last night, but we battled hard to come back and tie the score and we can build on that."

Freshman guard D'shara Strange tallied the team's first double-double of the year, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, the only Bear in double digits in either category. She also tied her career-high with five steals. Junior forward Kaisha Brown scored nine points, all on three-pointers in the second half and led the team with three assists.

For her efforts, Strange was named to the Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament team.

"D'shara did a great job," said White. "She came off the handoffs, you could see it in her face she was going to score. We gave ourselves a chance, once against. In the comeback, we got good looks on the offensive end off stops from the defensive end. We missed some open shots though and the pressure made us make some mistakes."

Northeastern jumped out to the early lead in the game, getting its biggest advantage, 14 points (22-8), at the 8:13 mark of the first half. The Bears went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:37 to cut the game to six, 22-16, and the two teams entered the locker rooms with the same gap in the score, 28-22.

The Bears were the team to come out at the start of the next half on fire, scoring nine of the first 11 to take their first lead with 16:27 to play. Leading by one with 9:21 remaining, the team saw the Huskies use their own eight-point run to increase their lead back to seven (46-39) with 7:07 left and the Bears were unable to get closer than five the rest of the way.

Rachael Pecota led the Huskies with 17 points, while Mia Mayberry had a double-double as well with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jamie Conroy led the game with eight assists and Pecota tallied a game-best six steals.

 "You've got to learn," said White. "You can't just come in here and play and not learn every single game. You have to learn from the pressure, learn to make better decisions and push the score ahead. I just said to the girls, 'great job coming back but why can't we come out ready to go?' I think they will learn from these games and take those lessons forward as we play Irvine and Santa Barbara next weekend."