February 5, 2011

Women's basketball streak comes to an end at Portland State

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PORTLAND, Ore. – At one time or another, all streaks must end and unfortunately for the Northern Colorado women's basketball team it happened on Saturday afternoon as they lost 67-60 at Portland State.

The Bears (13-10, 8-2 Big Sky) snapped a seven-game winning streak – tied for the fifth longest in school history – while the Vikings (13-9, 6-3 Big Sky) won their fifth straight.

"I thought our team did a good job pressing in the second half," said Head Coach Jaime White. "I also thought we had some mental errors and at the same time, some fatigue a little bit. It was a winnable game and I think our team is as good, or better than Portland State. However, today they did what they needed to to get the win."

The Bears were once again led by sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke with 16 points. Freshman guard D'shara Strange was also in double figures in scoring with 11 and she tallied a game-high four steals. Junior forward Kaisha Brown led the team with six rebounds and senior guard Courtney Stoermer chipped in a game-high five assists.

Portland State was led by Courtney Van Brocklin with 18 points, while Shauneice Samms came off the bench for 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Kelli Valentine and Eryn Jones also each chipped in 10 points and three assists each.

"I thought Portland State did a good job of getting their hands in the passing lanes and not allowing us to run some things we wanted to," said White. "Portland State's been a team we always go head-to-head with and I think our kids look forward to this game. We were just unable to turn the corner today and I think we ran out of gas a little bit in the last five minutes."

The Bears trailed by as many as 10 in the second half, going down 41-31 after Jones hit a three-pointer with 13:42 to play. The team switched to a pressure defense and chipped away at the lead, cutting it to two, 56-54 on a free throw by Strange with 4:09 remaining, but PSU scored the next six to extend the lead back to eight, 62-54 with just 1:58 on the clock.

Both Strange and sophomore guard Victoria Timm recorded their 50th steals of the year in the game. Strange now leads the team with 51, while Timm has 50. It is just the third time in Northern Colorado history two players have had 50 or more steals in the same season (1989-90 and 1983-84).

Senior center Brittany Fernandez had another solid game, scoring six points with four rebounds and a blocked shot in 13 minutes of play. Her block gives her 26 for the season, which ties the school's Division I record by Stoermer last year.

The Bears put a 10-game home winning streak on the line on Thursday when they host Montana State at 7:05 pm. The Bobcats host Weber State tonight at 7:00.