November 28, 2010

Fast and furious rally falls just short for women's basketball

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Northern Colorado women's basketball team used a 32-14 run over the final 7:55 of the game on Sunday, but it was not enough as the Bears (2-5) fell to UC Santa Barbara 63-54.

The Bears trailed by 27, 49-22, with 7:57 to play, but the team was finally able to find the basket, shooting .500 (11-for-22) throughout the rest of the game in mounting their furious comeback. The scoring started with a three-pointer from senior guard Courtney Stoermer, one of her three triples on the evening and the defense forced several turnovers during the final stretch.

"All of the sudden, one thing led to another and we were in a spot we hated to be in," said Head Coach Jaime White. "I thought Kaisha (Brown) and Courtney hit some big shots late and I thought we ran our out-of-bounds plays extremely well. We probably scored 20 off that and our defense was great on those plays, getting two five-second calls late in the game."

Brown led the team with 14 points, nailing four three pointers and she had a team-best seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end of the floor. Freshman guard D'shara Strange scored 12, while Stoermer was also in double figures with 11. Strange and Stoermer also had four assists to lead the Bears and sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke had five steals.

The Bears shot just .179 from the field in the first half and missed all three of their three-point attempts as well as making just one of four free throws.

"The fact is," said White. "When you go up you're going to get hit. It's going to be physical and we have to learn to get through it. Also, when we're missing shots that badly, balls are coming off hard and the guards are getting the ball. We need to just relax and run the offense, not panic."

The second half was quite a bit better, but still not up to the usual standards as the team shot .280 from the floor, but hit .333 from the arc (7-for-21) and were .571 (8-for-14) from the charity stripe. The 78 shots taken on the night also tie the school record since joining the Division I ranks.

Mekia Valentine led the Gauchos (1-4) with a triple double, scoring 15 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking 10 shots. Both Kelsey Adrian and Sweets Underwood were also in double figures in the scoring column with 11 points each.

In the three games prior to Sunday, the Bears had struggled mightily with turnovers, tallying 72, however against the Gauchos the team committed a season-low 13 giveaways and forced UCSB into 23 of their own, including seven in the final 7:50.

The Bears have one more road game during this five-game road stretch, playing at instate rival Colorado State on Thursday, December 2. The game is slated for a 7:05 pm tip in Moby Arena.