November 27, 2011

Women use big run to win fourth straight

GREELEY – A 14-point run to begin the second-half lifted the Northern Colorado women's basketball team past the visiting UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, 44-39 on Sunday afternoon.

The Bears (4-2) outscored the Gauchos (2-4) by 10 in the second stanza to win their fourth straight game after entering the locker room down by five points at halftime. Six different players scored in the first eight minutes of the second half to give the Bears the lift they needed.

"They (UCSB) kept changing their defense, which bothered our offense a little bit," said Head Coach Jaime White. "We just weren't seeing what they were giving us, so that's what took so long for us to get going. Our zone defense helped us to go on that run we went on and after that I think we kind of hung on."

Junior forward Lauren Oosdyke led the game in scoring with 15 points, hitting four of the team's last five baskets of the first half for 11 points at the break.  Sophomore guard D'shara Strange added 11 points and had a game-best nine rebounds.

Both Oosdyke and junior guard Victoria Timm also recorded the 100th steals of their careers as Oosdyke had a game-high three for 102 in her career, while Timm had two to total 100.

Senior forward Kaisha Brown established a new career-high with three blocked shots in the game, but none was bigger than sophomore guard Molly Duehn's, who swatted Emilie Johnson's jumper with 1:08 remaining that would have cut the Bear's lead to one. Duehn chased down the rebound, was fouled and sank both of her free throws with 45 seconds remaining in the game for the final score of 44-39.

The Bears defense held UCSB's leading scorer, Emilie Johnson, scoreless in the game, while Sweets Underwood who averages 10.8 a game, was held to just four points.

Kelsey Adrian led the Gauchos with 10 points, while Kirsten Tilleman had a team-best seven rebounds.

"Our zone defense did a good job, holding a team to 14 points in the second half is great," said White. "And when you play zone it helps with some of the fouls, so that's part of the reason there were only six."

Northern Colorado committed a season-low 11 turnovers in the game. It is the lowest turnover total since the Bears had just 10 at Air Force on Dec. 30, 2009.

The busy stretch continues for the Bears as they host in-state rivals Denver (Wed.) and Colorado State (Fri.) next week, both at 7:05 pm. The game Friday is the fifth in 11 days for the Bears, who get the following eight days off from competition for final examinations.

"I think those are games our kids look forward to," concluded White. "The best thing about it is we have them at home in front of our crowd. It's nice to say they're in-state rivalries, but it's just another step towards getting better and making sure we correct the mistakes we're making."