January 8, 2011

Late first-half surge lifts Montana State past women's basketball

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BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Montana State women's basketball team used an 18-4 run to close out the first half and held on through the second half for an 84-75 victory over the visiting Northern Colorado Bears on Saturday evening.

The Bears (6-9, 1-1 Big Sky) were led for the third-straight game by sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke, who scored 19 points and brought down a game-best nine rebounds. Freshman forward Kim Lockridge came off the bench to score in double figures for the third time in four games, scoring a career-best 17 points.

"Kim and Lauren played really well again," said Head Coach Jaime White. "The fouls hurt, but this was kind of an eye-opener for our team."

Senior guard Courtney Stoermer played the entire 40 minutes for the 32nd time in her career and chipped in 12 points, led the game with six assists and had a team-best four steals. Her thefts give her 187 career steals and move her within two of the Northern Colorado school record of 189 steals by Renee L'Heureux (1981-85).

Montana State senior Sarah Balian, formerly Strand, led the game with a career-best 24 points, while junior guard Katie Bussey chipped in 20, Ausha Cole scored 13 and Rachel Semansky added 10 in the win.

After starting the season 2-8, the Bobcats have now won six straight to even their record at 8-8 and move to 2-0 in Big Sky Conference action.

"We did a good job in the first half," said Head Coach Jaime White. "I felt like we defended the drive and the three decently, I just felt like every time we turned around Bussey, Strand (Balian) and (Seidensticker) were hitting a three. As much as we knew it and knew how to defend it, they hit – though I thought we had some break downs here and there.

Both teams were in foul trouble throughout the game as the Bears had both Lockridge and Oosdyke foul out and three others with at least three, while Montana State had Semansky four out and three with three or more.

 "I still feel like we gave ourselves a chance at the end," said White. "There were some fouls inside so we were playing with five guards but we had to take our chances that way."

Northern Colorado shot .400 from the field for the game and .353 from beyond the arc, while Montana State connected on .474 for the game from the floor and .550 from the three-point line – nailing 11 triples.

"I don't want to take anything away from this road trip. Number one, we had a great win at Montana and number two, we gave ourselves a chance tonight. We played hard towards the end and never gave up, which they never do. It's just tough when you can't finish it off. We've got to go home and get ready to win some games at Butler-Hancock."

The Bears get five of the next six games at home, beginning on Thursday with Portland State. Game time is set for 5:05 and is the first of a double-header as the men host Idaho State 30 minutes following the women's contest.