December 13, 2003

Women's Basketball Earns First Division I Victory of the Season

Dec. 13, 2003

Box Score

LOGAN, Utah - It took an overtime period but when the smoke cleared the University of Northern Colorado women's basketball team earned its first Division I victory of the season, with a 73-70 win over Utah State on Saturday afternoon.

The Bears improved to 7-2, while the Aggies dropped to 0-5 on the season. The win was the first for UNC over a Division I opponent in this, the Bears' first season of a four-year move to Division I. Utah State, although a D-I program, is in its first season of basketball since 1986-87, when budget cuts forced the elimination of the program.

The overtime game was the first since UNC beat St. Cloud State 84-80 on Jan. 2, 2003 in Butler-Hancock Hall.

Led by Ali Aird's seven first-half points and USU's obvious size advantage the Aggies were able to dominate the paint in the opening stanza. The Aggies led 22-17 with 5:52 remaining, and it looked as if they would go into the lockerroom with their first halftime lead of the season.

The Bears then countered USU's size with speed and perimeter shooting as they would use a 10-3 run to close the half, up 27-25. UNC was led by freshman forward Heather Barbour's six first-half points on 2-3 from three-point range.

UNC opened the second half where they left off in the first, launching three-pointers at every opportunity. The strategy paid-off as the Bears would hit three from long range to help build their lead to seven midway through the half.

Virginia Jennings and Christina Zdenek would then hit back-to-back three-pointers that sparked a 25-10 run for the Aggies and put them up by eight with 2:56 remaining in the game. UNC would then go on another run as it outscored the Aggies 14-6 to tie the game at 66 at the end of regulation.

UNC's Barbour hit a three-point shot to open overtime and the Bears never looked back as they won 73-70. Aird was the only Aggie to score in overtime as she knocked down two free-throws and a jumper.

"They had way more big guys than we did," said UNC head coach Ron Vlasin. "We figured if we could hit a few threes then maybe we would be able to knock someone off."

Northern Colorado had two players score in double-digits with Elliott notching 24 points and four assists. Barbour added 15 points and six rebounds. Freshman Danielle Hagen added a career-best 13 rebounds.

Utah State was led in scoring by Aird, who notched a game-high 26 points in the contest.

USU tallied its highest field-goal percentage so far this year against the Bears as it shot 40.4 percent for the game. USU also out rebounded its opponent for the fourth-straight game as it recorded 42 rebounds to the Bears' 36.

UNC meanwhile shot 37.5 percent and went 12-39 from beyond the arc for the game. The Bears actually made more three-point baskets (12) than USU attempted (9).

UNC is back in action on Monday night when they play Mesa State in Grand Junction. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.