January 4, 2011

WBB Preview: at Montana, Montana State

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Northern Colorado Notes | Montana Notes | Montana State Notes | Big Sky Conference Notes

Conference Play Begins
Northern Colorado begins its fifth season in the Big Sky Conference on Thursday at Montana. The Bears are 1-3 all-time in Big Sky openers, winning their first game last year, 66-56 over Northern Arizona.

Last Time Out
GREELEY, Colo. – It took five extra minutes of play, but Northern Colorado was able to get head coach Jaime White her 50th career victory on Tuesday evening against Colgate in overtime, 57-53. Sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke shined throughout the game, posting a season-best in both points and rebounds with 23 and 11, respectively, garnering her first double-double of the year and fifth of her career. She also tied her career-highs in steals with five and blocked shots with two. Sophomore guard Victoria Timm, getting just her second career start, was the only other player in double figures, scoring 10 points. She also posted a career best with three blocked shots. Senior guard Courtney Stoermer led the team with four assists.

NC vs Montana
The Bears are searching for their first-ever win in the series against Montana, entering the contest with an 0-8 mark. All of the games have been since NC entered the Big Sky Conference in 2006-07. The Bears are 0-4 in Missoula and 0-4 in Greeley, with the closest game in the series coming to close the 2009-10 season, 63-60 on March 6.

 

NC vs Montana State
Northern Colorado is 3-6 all-time in the series against Montana State, with eight of the nine games coming since the Bears joined the Big Sky Conference. The Bears are also 1-3 in Bozeman. The strangest game in the series happened last year at MSU as the teams had a 45-minute delay to switch gyms due to a leaking roof. The two teams have split the regular season meetings in each of the last three years.

Scouting Montana
The Lady Griz enter Big Sky Conference play with a 5-8 mark, tied for fourth in the standings with the Bears and Northern Arizona. Montana is averaging 60.2 points and 39.9 rebounds per game. Opponents are scoring 62.9 points and 38.2 rebounds per game. Katie Baker is the only Griz in double figures in scoring, averaging 11.2 per game and she also leads the team with 7.9 boards a contest. Senior forward Sarah Ena is second in both categories with 9.8 and 5.2, respectively. Both Montana and Northern Colorado have played Denver this year. The Lady Griz beat the Pioneers in Missoula, 50-45, while the Bears lost at Denver, 56-45.

Scouting Montana State
The Bobcats are fresh off a pair of road victories over BYU and Utah Valley, stretching their winning streak to four. Both the Bobcats and Bears have lost games to Denver this season with MSU falling by six and NC 11. Four Bobcats are averaging double figures in points, led by Colorado native Katie Bussey (13.6). Sarah Balian, the Big Sky's reigning player of the week, leads the team with 9.6 rebounds per game. MSU is averaging 66.6 points and 39.4 rebounds, while opponents are averaging 66.5 points and 41.6 rebounds per game.

On This Date
In games played on January 6, the Bears are 3-7 all-time, while in games on the 8th they are 4-9. NC is also 0-2 against Big Sky opponents in games on the 6th, falling at Weber State and Sacramento State in 2005 and 2007, respectively. On the road, the Bears are just 1-4 on Jan. 6. On Jan. 8, the team is 2-4 in road games and 0-1 against Big Sky foes with a 61-52 loss at Weber State last year.

Extra Periods
The win over Colgate was the second overtime game this year for the Bears. It marks just the fifth time in school history the team has played multiple overtime games and no season has ever had more than three. The Bears are now 12-12 all-time in overtime games and have won eight of their last 10.

Board Games
In each of the last two games, Northern Colorado has recorded 50 or more rebounds. It is the first time the Bears have had 50 or more in back-to-back games since Nov., 2000. The Bears had 64 against UCCS on Nov. 21 and 55 against Colorado School of Mines on Nov. 24. This year, the Bears tallied 53 against San Francisco and 50 against Colgate.

Streaking To The Arc
Sophomore guard Victoria Timm became the third player this season to post a streak of multiple three-pointers in four-straight games. She joins junior Kaisha Brown, who had a five-game streak of multiple triples to start the year, and senior guard Courtney Stoermer, who also hit two or more in four straight. That trio is responsible for 53 of the team's 60 three-pointers this season.

Top Defensive Marks
Northern Colorado currently leads the Big Sky Conference in the majority of the defensive categories, leading the way in field goal percentage defense (.361), three-point field goal percentage defense (.276), rebound margin (+2.0) and scoring defense (59.9). The Bears are also second in blocked shots (3.8) and steals (10.6).

They're B-a-a-ck
The game against Colgate marked the return to the lineup for both junior guard Amy Marin and senior forward Lara Merritt. Marin missed exactly one month of play due to an appendectomy, while the game was the first of the year for Merritt after she tore her ACL during the summer.

Ball Control
Against Colgate, senior guard Courtney Stoermer played 41 minutes without committing a turnover. It was the sixth time in her career she was on the floor for more than 25 minutes without a miscue. In those six games, Stoermer has 21 assists to go along with the zero turnovers

First Try For 50
Head Coach Jaime White won her 50th game on Tuesday against Colgate. White is in her fifth season as head coach of the Bears and is now one of just five head coaches in Northern Colorado women's basketball history with 50 wins (Janet Schafer 82, Gary Schwartz 75, Ron Vlasin 67, Greg Bruce 58).

Home In December
Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Northern Colorado has won nine of 10 home games, losing only a 74-69 decision to St. Mary's last season. This year, the Bears went 3-0 with wins over South Dakota Mines, San Francisco and Colgate.

300 For Free
Senior Courtney Stoermer became one of just four players in Northern Colorado women's basketball history to make 300 free throws in her career, making both of her attempts against San Francisco. Stoermer now has 304 free throws which ties for third on the school's career charts. With 22 more free throws, Stoermer will also appear in the top 20 in Big Sky Conference history.

Double Trouble
Sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke posted the second-straight double-double for the Bears in the win over Colgate with 23 points and 11 rebounds. She becomes the third player this year to record one as freshmen Kim Lockridge (1) and D'shara Strange (2) also have double figures in points and rebounds.

Lock Your Picnic Baskets
These 2010-11 Bears have no problem stealing whatever they can get. Northern Colorado has double figures in steals in six of the last seven games and seven times this year, which already surpasses last year's team. Eight times this year a player has recorded five or more steals, with Victoria Timm's seven at Denver tied for the best single-game tally in the Big Sky this year. In 13 games, the Bears are more than halfway to last year's total of 206 steals, notching 138.

Painting The Town
Northern Colorado holds a 378-300 advantage in points in the paint this season. The Bears are averaging 29.1 points per game in the paint, while the opposition is getting just 23.1 per contest. In each of the last five games, the Bears have tallied at least 24 in the paint and in three games this year the team has scored 40 or more.

Helping Hands
Both Courtney Stoermer and Kaisha Brown sport positive assist-to-turnover ratios this year. Stoermer has 47 assists with 34 turnovers, while Brown has 28 and 18, respectively. Stoermer's ratio of 1.4 ranks fourth in the Big Sky statistics, while Brown doesn't meet the minimum requirements of three assists per game, or her 1.6 ratio would rank second.

Home Sweet Home
Teams usually play better in front of home fans than in the hostile environments on the road, but the Bears numbers are considerably better at Butler-Hancock so far this year. Below is a look at the differences:

Stat

Home

Road

Difference

Points Per Game

68.0

54.0

+14.0

Points Allowed

52.7

64.8

-12.1

Field Goal %

.416

.332

+.084

Field Goal % Def.

.307

.426

-.119

Free Throw %

.669

.614

+.055

Rebounds Per Game

43.8

37.4

+6.4

Rebounds Allowed

38.3

39.0

-0.7

Assists

14.5

10.4

+4.1

Steals

11.3

11.0

+0.3

Milestone Watch
Several Bears are approaching career milestones. Senior Brittany Fernandez is just two points from 100 in her career. Senior Lara Merritt needs just 18 points for 300 in her career. Sophomore Lauren Oosdyke is seven rebounds shy of 300 and her next point will be her 450th and her next assist will be #50. With four more assists, senior Courtney Stoermer will notch her 350th. Senior Jayne Strand is six points shy of 150 with the Blue & Gold.

Good Things Happen
When scoring at least 70 points under Coach Jaime White, Northern Colorado has a record of 31-7, including a 3-1 mark in 2010-11. A year ago, the Bears went 8-2 when putting at least 70 on the scoreboard.

Picked Eighth
The Bears were picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky preseason polls voted on by both the coaches and media. Montana was picked to win the title by both groups, while Eastern Washington, Portland State and Montana State are in the top four, respectively.

Time Invested
Senior guard Courtney Stoermer broke the Northern Colorado all-time record for career minutes played in just the second game of her senior season. Stoermer has now played 3,695 minutes in 103 games, breaking the previous record of 3,256 minutes by Shelley Lindstrom (1988-92). Stoermer averages 35.9 minutes per game through her career and has played 40 or more minutes in 31 games. She is playing 34.7 minutes per game in 2010-11, the lowest average of her career, but still the highest average in the Big Sky this season.

Stop Thief!
Senior guard Courtney Stoermer is now tied for second on the Northern Colorado all-time steals charts with 182. With her next steal, she will take over second from Jill Reifschneider (1993-97) and she is just seven from knotting the school record of 189 held by Renee L'Heureux (1981-85).

Going Streaking
Northern Colorado has now made at least one three-pointer in 281 consecutive games, dating all the way back to Jan. 20, 2001 at South Dakota State.