November 9, 2013

Second-half run dooms women's basketball in season-opener

By PARKER COTTON

UNCBears.com                                       

GREELEY – The Northern Colorado women's basketball team was the victim of a 17-5 run to begin the second half Saturday, and San Diego never relinquished its newfound lead in a 69-56 victory at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.

The Bears (0-1) led 34-30 at the break after shooting 13-of-26 from the field in the first 20 minutes — while holding USD to 8-for-29 (27.6 percent) shooting, but the Toreros (1-0) won the second half 39-22.

"I thought we did a good job in the first half," head coach Jaime White said. "The second half was a combination of missing rebounding opportunities, I thought we had some turnovers and I don't think we ran the offense the way we wanted to."

San Diego won the rebounding battle 51-31 and got 15 second-chance points thanks to 23 offensive boards. The Toreros also played a stifling full-court pressure for a majority of the game that forced errant passes and caused 17 Northern Colorado turnovers.

The Bears finished with a 42.6 percent shooting percentage but couldn't overcome their 29 personal fouls. San Diego was 28-of-44 from the charity stripe in the game, keeping the game close in the first half and out of reach in the second half.

San Diego had four players score 11 or more points, led by senior guard Amy Kame, who scored 22 points on 6-of-19 shooting and 9-of-13 on free throws. She also added nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in the game.

"First of all, Amy Kame, you have to get in front of her, can't let her get past you, and then we can't foul on the shot," White said. "The reason you get to the line is because you foul on the shot, and a lot of those were on offensive rebounds where we didn't have position and we fouled, so just things we can work on."

Sophomore guard Jamie Derrieux (Grand Junction, Colo.) led all Bears with a career-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, and she also chipped in with four assists and two steals. In the first game of the season after losing so much scoring from a year ago in Lauren Oosdyke (graduation) and D'shara Strange (knee surgery), White was pleased with Derrieux's performance.

"Jamie has a quick first step," White said. "She's a smart player, she has that ability to focus on what she's doing at the time and I like her coming off drives and getting all the way to the rim."

Stephanie Lee (Casper, Wyo.) was second on the team with eight points after coming off the bench, and Katie Longwell (Parker, Colo.) and Amy Kidner (Perth, Australia) both had seven points. Kidner also had seven rebounds to lead the Bears.

Northern Colorado got 29 points from its reserves, and in addition to having 15 assists on 20 field goals – showing quality ball movement – White pointed at the bench production as a positive to take away from the defeat.

"To be honest, I think we had a short bench the last couple of years, and this year I don't feel like that at all," White said. "We've got great kids coming off the bench. We're still trying to find combinations. The reason our starting kids were out (of the game) is because they all had two fouls, so we didn't want to get into too much more foul trouble in the first half, so those kids came off the bench ready to go and did a good job, and that's a good sign."

The Bears will search for their first win of the season at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they face Air Force in Colorado Springs.