January 4, 2014

Women's basketball falters at North Dakota

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – A strong second-half performance by North Dakota's Mia Loyd helped prevent Northern Colorado from picking up its first Big Sky Conference victory, as the Bears fell 63-51 on Saturday afternoon.

Loyd tied her career-high with 20 points, 17 of which came in the second half, and she grabbed eight rebounds as UND out-rebounded UNC 49-23 in the contest.

The Bears fall to 6-6 overall and 0-3 in Big Sky Conference play, while UND improves to 8-4 overall and 3-0 in league action. Another big reason for the North Dakota victory was 21 second-chance points for UND as they grabbed 23 offensive rebounds.

"Those second chance points, 21 of them, 23 offensive rebounds and 25 free throws did not make for a good formula," Head Coach Jaime White said. "Our girls are torn up about it. If they get 10 second chance points and 10 offensive rebounds it's a completely different deal. To give our girls credit, a lot of the time we were blocking out, but a lot of time those shots were coming off really wide."

Northern Colorado junior center Stephanie Lee (Casper, Wyo.) continued her strong start to the season, scoring 23 points, but she was the only Bear in double digits. Sophomore guard Jamie Derrieux (Grand Junction, Colo.) was close with eight points and fellow sophomore Rebecca Howell (Denver) chipped in seven.

Junior guard Lindsay Mallon (Lone Tree, Colo.) led the team with five rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Lee led the way with three blocked shots.

Both teams did a good job at the free throw line, but UND had more than twice the attempts, going 20-for-25 (80%), while UNC was 8-for-11 (72.7%).

It was a game of runs in the first half as the Bears used an 8-0 run to break a 7-7 tie and take a 15-7 lead off a Derrieux jumper at 11:10. UND went on a 11-0 run of its own to regain the lead at 22-20 with 4:04 left. North Dakota took a 26-23 lead into the break.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the second half, knotting the score at 42-42 with 12:02 remaining. UND scored the next six and never trailed again, making its final six points at the free throw line over the last 1:11.

"I thought we got some good looks off the flare," White said. "When we had a short clock, I didn't think we made great plays, but when they had a short clock, they had great plays."

Northern Colorado continues its road trip, playing a pair of afternoon Big Sky Conference games. The Bears play at Weber State at noon on Thursday – as the Wildcats are running a school special for – while on Saturday they play at Idaho State at 2 p.m.

"We'll have a couple of days and will be ready," said White. "It will be a hostile kindergarten environment, but we'll be ready. We've got a lot of young kids who are getting a lot of opportunities and we're just waiting for one to give us the opportunity we want."