January 20, 2011

Women's basketball scores highest-ever total in Big Sky history

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GREELEY, Colo. – All five starters scored in double figures as the Northern Colorado women's basketball team defeated Sacramento State 91-59 to win its eighth straight game inside Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.  With the win, the Bears are back to .500 on the year at 9-9 overall and more importantly, move to 4-1 in Big Sky Conference play for just the second time ever (2007-08) and remain in second-place in the league standings.

Junior forward Kaisha Brown scored a season-best 19 points, while senior guard Courtney Stoermer scored 13, freshman D'shara Strange had 12 and both senior center Brittany Fernandez and sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke each added 10.

"I really thought we came out, pounding the ball inside," said Head Coach Jaime White. "Defensively, we had a really good first half. We also took care of the ball and stopped them in transition. With the style of play Sacramento State has, we knew there were going to be a lot of rebounds and a lot of long rebounds were our guard could go get them."

The 91 points is the most the Bears have ever scored in a Big Sky Conference game and the most overall since the team scored 92 against Johnson & Wales on Dec. 28, 2008. The 33 field goals made are also a new school Division I record, breaking the old mark of 32 against this same Sacramento State team on March 8, 2008. The Bears also shot .541 for the game from the field (33-61), the best mark of the season and the best since the team shot .554 against Northern Arizona on March 6, 2008.

Stoermer also became the Northern Colorado (9-9, 4-1 Big Sky) career record holder in steals with one early in the first half. She now has 190 steals, breaking the previous mark of 189 by Renee L'Heureux (1981-85). Strange actually led the game with four steals, as she was the only Bear to record multiple thefts in the game.

Stoermer led the team with five assists and had no turnovers in 29 minutes. She also hit three three-pointers, moving her to 162, just 11 shy of tying the school's career record of 173 by Missy McVoy (1994-98). Brown also nailed three triples on the evening, giving her 126 for her career to move into a tie for seventh on the all-time charts with Kate Kevorken (2007-09).

 "Courtney's been a staple for us," said White. "She is the hardest worker on the team and has been for four years. She's put on her conference hat and has really taken the responsibility to let everyone know what it's like to play in the Big Sky and how important every game is."

Senior center Jayne Strand came off the bench to lead the team with eight rebounds in just 12 minutes of play. Her total is a season high and in three career games against the Hornets, she now has 23 rebounds (7.7 per game). Five other players had five or more rebounds in the game as the Bears out-rebounded the Hornets 49-31.

The eight straight wins in Butler-Hancock are tied for the fifth-longest streak in school history, tying the streak from Feb. 25, 1994 to Dec. 31, 1994. The school record for consecutive home wins stands at 16 from Feb. 15, 1997 to Feb. 21, 1998. The win for the Bears also snaps a four-game losing skid to Sacramento State and is the first since March 3, 2008.

The Bears now travel to Ogden, Utah to take on Weber State on Saturday at 2:05 pm in the Dee Events Center. The Wildcats got their first win in conference play on Thursday evening, defeating Portland State 65-62 to improve to 5-11 overall and 1-3 in league action.