GREELEY, Colo. – For the first time this season, the Northern Colorado women's basketball team led wire-to-wire, winning its fourth consecutive home game in convincing fashion over San Francisco, 74-46.
A shakeup in the starting lineup proved beneficial for the Bears (4-8) as head coach Jaime White reinserted senior center Brittany Fernandez into the starting five for freshman Kim Lockridge and both responded with career-highs.
Lockridge tallied the team's third double-double of the year with 13 points and a game-best 14 rebounds. She tied her career high in rebounds in the first half with eight and posted a career-best three assists. Fernandez scored a career-best 11 points and had a season-best seven rebounds.
"Kim did a good job of getting in position on the weak side," said White. "That got her a couple of offensive rebounds and I just thought she took up space inside, got good rebounds and held onto the ball."
Freshman guard D'shara Strange led all players with 17 points, tying her career-high. She also had a career-best six steals and tied her career-best with four assists. Senior guard Courtney Stoermer was also in double figures, scoring 13 points off the strength of three triples. Stoermer also had four assists to tie for the team lead.
"D'shara played within herself," said White. "She did good at what she does well. She got all the way to the basket, got knocked down a couple of times. She got out in transition and she ran the offense and got shots within the offense, all of which are really important because it helps the rest of the team get in position for rebounds and do a couple of different things."
The Bears came out playing stingy defense, limiting the Lady Dons (2-9) to just a pair of free throws over the first 9:06, building a 16-2 lead before Bailey Barbour made USF's first basket of the evening. Strange and Fernandez combined to score the Bears first 10 points of the evening before Lauren Oosdyke got in on the scoring with a layup and Victoria Timm added a three-pointer for the 16 points.
"We've been working hard all week trying to tighten things up defensively," said White. "We really rotated the way we needed to, got hands in the passing lanes and got steals. We did turn the ball over a little bit but I think it's just because we were trying to force transition and get out and run a little bit."
Northern Colorado had 13 steals on the evening, the fourth straight game the team's been in double figures in thefts. The team also tallied a season-best 53 rebounds and had season highs in shooting .462 from beyond the arc (6-for-13) and .833 from the free throw line (10-for-12).
The Bears now take a break from action for the holidays, returning to Butler-Hancock on Dec. 28 when they host Colgate at 7 pm.