January 4, 2007

Bears Don't Give Up Fight In Loss to Weber State

Jan. 4, 2007

Box Score

OGDEN, Utah - The University of Northern Colorado women's basketball team had a strong first Big Sky Conference outing on Thursday but once again ran into a wall of solid inside play by the Weber State Wildcats in the Bears' 78-66 loss at the Dee Events Center.

Weber State (6-8, 1-0 Big Sky) used its size advantage to score 40 points in the paint and put up 16 second chance points against the Bears. Sophomore guard Whitley Cox stepped it up for the Bears, finishing with team-highs of 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Nine of her final point total was scored in the last 10 minutes.

Northern Colorado (3-10, 0-1) came out on fire in the first 10 minutes of the game, going up by as many as seven. The Bears were able to use their press to rattle the Wildcats and force four turnovers in the early going.

"We had a great first 10 minutes and we were able to hit some good shots," said head coach Jaime White. "Our press worked well for a while, but their inside game gave us trouble. I was pleased with how we didn't give up the fight."

The momentum shifted WSU's way in the second part of the first half, however, as it stormed back to take a 37-35 lead going into halftime. Northern Colorado shot a solid 46.7 percent from the floor in the half, but the Wildcats returned the favor by going 52 percent. Senior forward Melanie Drangmeister scored nine of her final season-high 12 points in the first half, as she drained three 3-pointers.

As well as they played in the first half, it was that much tougher for the Bears in the early parts of the second half. Weber State took control of the contest with a 15-point run that gave the Wildcats a 57-40 lead with 12:40 left in the game.

But Northern Colorado showed WSU how stubborn it could be as the Bears refused to quit. Down 17 with just over five minutes remaining, Northern Colorado raced back on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 70-64 with 1:23 left on the clock. But time was not on the Bears' side, as they had to start fouling, which allowed WSU to settle on its final margin of victory after converting free throws.

"I was happy with how we came back in the end," White said. "We proved that we don't give up. The game could have been closer, but time ran out and they were able to make free throws."

Senior forward Heather Barbour finished with 10 points, giving her double-figures for the 27th time in the last 30 games. Weber State was led by Janie Rayback's 17 points.

The Bears continue their road swing when they travel to Sacramento, Calif., to take on the Sacramento State Hornets at 3:05 p.m. mountain time on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live with Chris Ott on play-by-play on the Bears Radio Network (Flagship: 1310-AM KFKA) beginning at 2:45 p.m. An internet stream can be accessed free of charge on UNCBears.com.