January 3, 2005

Northern Colorado Women's Basketball Travels to Weber State, Utah

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University of Northern Colorado Bears (3-10)

vs. Weber State University Wildcats (7-4)


Game #14 l  Thursday, Jan. 6, 2005  l  5 p.m. (Mountain)

Ogden, Utah  l  Dee Events Center (11,500)



University of Northern Colorado Bears (3-10)

vs. University of Utah Utes (9-4)


Game #15 l  Saturday, Jan. 8, 2005  l  3 p.m. (Mountain)

Salt Lake City, Utah  l  Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000)




The University of Northern Colorado Bears' women's basketball team will travel to the state of Utah to take on both Weber State (Thursday) and Utah (Saturday). 


The Series: 8th meeting between Weber State and Northern Colorado. The Bears lead the series, 4-3. 6th meeting between Utah and UNC. Utah has won all five previous meetings.


The Coaches: Ron Vlasin is 45-50 in his fourth season as a college coach. Vlasin won nine state championships as a prep coach in Colorado. Carla Taylor is 224-232 in 17 years as the head coach at Weber State. Elaine Elliott is 446-182 in 22 years as the head coach at Utah.


Radio: Bears' Radio Network (Flagship Station - Newstalk KFKA 1310-AM in Greeley).  Scott McVay (play-by-play) and Chris Ott (color) will have the call. Available free online at www.uncbears.com. Thursday's game will be broadcast on tape delay at 7:05 p.m.


Television: None


Internet: Log onto UNCBears.com for the latest information on the Bears program including live stats, rosters, bios, statistics, releases, feature stories, box scores and much, much more.


Tickets: Call 970-351-2327 for more information.






Northern Colorado's last meeting with Weber State came on Dec. 13, 1984 when the Bears scored a 79-77 win over the Wildcats in Greeley. Northern Colorado's last meeting with Utah came on March 2, 1979, when the Utes tallied a 78-47 triumph over the Bears in Salt Lake City.



This week's pair of contests will certainly not be an easy road for the Northern Colorado Bears. Weber State is ranked No. 61 in the RPI rankings, while Utah is ranked No. 42 according to www.collegerpi.com. Northern Colorado is ranked No. 268. Utah is also receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Utah received five votes in the lastest poll, which ranks them No. 40 in the nation.



Northern Colorado has been bombing away from three-point land all season, but the Bears took it to another level against Colorado State on Sunday night. The Bears drained 15 of 48 three-pointers attempted against the Rams before falling 69-59. The Bears were four attempts away from tying the NCAA single-game record of 52 attempts. Northern Colorado's single-game record for 3's attempted is 51.



Northern Colorado has attempted 407 three-pointers for an average of 31.3 attempts per game. The Bears have made 116 three-pointers, while the opposition has drained 85. UNC has made a total of 254 field goals.



The Bears had been having a rough go at the foul line this season. Northern Colorado has made 98-of-151 (64.9 percent) free throws compared the opposition who has made 163-of-242 (67.4 percent) of its charity opportunities.



UNC and Weber State have played one common opponent (Wyoming) in the 2004-05 season. The Bears lost a 64-39 matchup against the Cowgirls on Dec. 20 in Greeley. The Wildcats defeated the Cowgirls in Laramie, 71-58, on Dec. 17. UNC and Utah have also played one common opponent (IPFW) this season. The Bears defeated IPFW, 77-48, on Dec. 30, while Utah scored a 62-42 win over the Mastodons on Saturday. Utah tallied a 66-59 win over Weber State on Dec. 8.



Junior forward Cindy McCarroll provided a big spark off the bench in the contest with Colorado State. McCarroll set a career-high by draining all three of her three-point field goal attempts. Earlier this season, McCarroll set a career-high with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 25 minutes of action at Denver.



Sophomore forward Danielle Hagen put together a tremendous all-around game in the Bears' 77-48 win over IPFW. Hagen tied a pair of career-highs with 13 rebounds and six assists. Hagen was also the Bears' leading scorer in the game with 11 points. Hagen leads the Bears in rebounding at 6.5 caroms per contest.



The Bears' 29-point victory was its largest margin of victory since Feb. 19, 2004 when the Bears scored a 66-point victory (99-33) over Johnson & Wales.



Northern Colorado's loss at Colorado was the third this season for the squad against a member of the Big 12 Conference. The Bears suffered setbacks at Nebraska (89-46) and at Iowa State (76-36).



The Bears have five players averaging at least 6.5 points per game, but none of the five are averaging double digits. Jena Fosdick (7.6 ppg), Kayla Flavin (7.4 ppg), Heather Barbour (7.3 ppg), Kendra Lambrecht (7.3 ppg) and Danielle Hagen (6.5 ppg) are all averaging over six points per contest this season.



The Bears did not have a double-digit scorer for the first time in 283 games when the squad failed to yield a 10-point scorer against Iowa State. Kendra Lambrecht and Heather Barbour each tallied eight points in the 76-36 loss in Ames. The last time the Bears did not have a double-digit scorer came all the way back on Feb. 11, 1994, in a 76-50 loss to North Dakota State. However, the Bears did not have to wait 283 more games (in fact it was only 7 games) for it to happen again, as Wyoming held the Bears to 39 points and no double-digit scorers on Dec. 20.



Junior transfer Molly McGrath was cleared to play by the NCAA prior to the Bears' home win over Utah State on Dec. 2. Since then, McGrath has worked her way from the end of the bench (against Utah State) to the starting point guard (at UTEP). McGrath earned her first career start against the Miners and led the Bears to their first road win in nine games. McGrath tallied six rebounds, three points, three assists and two steals in the Bears' triumph. McGrath transferred to UNC from Western Nebraska CC). McGrath is a native of Basalt, Colo.



Heather Barbour and Kayla Flavin came off the bench against UTEP and combined to score 32 points to lead the Bears to the road win. Barbour tallied a game-high 17 points, which included a trio of three-pointers. Flavin netted 15 points of which seven came from the charity stripe.



As a team the Bears' bench netted 45 points against UTEP. For the second straight game, the Bears' starters failed to make a field goal in the first half of a game. Against Denver, the Bears' starters went 0-for-19 in the first half and against UTEP the Bears' starters went 0-for-7.



Freshman forward Kirsten Van Orden looks to have recovered from an early season foot injury after tallying a career-high 13 points at Denver. Van Orden came off the bench and played a career-high 20 minutes against the Pioneers. Van Orden drained three trifectas to lead the Bears' outside attack in a 63-53 setback.


Top-notch competition

UNC will play seven games against teams that competed in postseason tournaments last season. UNC will take on Nebraska (WNIT), Drake (WNIT), Iowa State (WNIT), Colorado (NCAA), Colorado State (WNIT), UNLV (WNIT) and Maryland (NCAA) this season. Both Iowa State and UNLV reached the national semifinals of the WNIT.



The UNC women's basketball team will look to build upon last season's 16-11 record. Last season was the Bears' first year of a four-year transition to Division I.



All Northern Colorado women's basketball games will be broadcast on Newstalk 1310 KFKA (1310-AM) and KSIR (1010-AM) this season. Scott McVay will handle the play-by-play duties. Gameday coverage begins 30 minutes prior to tipoff with the Bears' Pregame Show.


early signings

University of Northern Colorado Women's basketball head coach Ron Vlasin has announced the team's first two signings for next season. Alisa Christopherson of Montana and Jabrenta Hubbard of Nevada will join the Bears' roster next season. Christopherson is a 5-11 forward from Sentinel High School in Missoula, Mont. She averaged 13 points a game after returning from a foot injury early in her junior year.  Even though she played in only 11 games as a junior she was named first-team all-state and was also selected to the Montana state championship all-tournament team. She led Sentinel High School to a third-place finish in the 2004 State Tournament. Hubbard, a 5-6 point guard from Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nev., averaged 19.9 points, 4.5 assists and 5 steals a game during her junior season.  She was ranked the 38th best player in the country last season by NCAA FullCourt.com, and Street and Smith's 2004 ranked her as one of the top players in the West. Academically, she is a member of the National Honor Society and is currently ranked 29th of 595 students in her class with a 3.86 GPA.  



The University of Northern Colorado athletic department is in the midst of a four-year transition to NCAA Division I and the 2004 season will be year two of four. While currently an independent institution, Northern Colorado has submitted its proposal and application to join the Big Sky Conference. Membership in the Big Sky Conference will not only be financially beneficial to UNC, but will also bring Northern Colorado's highly competitive athletic programs to the Big Sky Conference for outstanding competition and sport rivalries at the Division I level. The Big Sky Conference currently sponsors 15 sports; Northern Coloradocompetes in 11 of those. Five of Northern Colorado's sports would continue to compete as independents baseball, softball, swimming, men's golf and wrestling. Currently, Football is a charter member of the Great West Football Conference.



The Big Sky Conference Presidents Council moved to take a closer look at the University of Northern Colorado for possible membership during a meeting Monday in Salt Lake City.


Northern Colorado, located in Greeley, was one of four institutions to publicly express interest in gaining entrance into the Big Sky.


"We're thrilled that the Big Sky Conference has chosen to take a closer look at the University of Northern Colorado," University of Northern Colorado President Kay Norton said. "We believe they will like what they see when they come to Greeley in early January. Yet we take nothing for granted and will continue to work to enhance our viability and to show them that we would be an excellent fit with the conference."


The Presidents Council met in August and developed a set of expansion criteria and formalized an expansion process. At the time, the Presidents Council discussed adding between one and three schools or remaining at the current eight-team makeup. North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Southern Utah were the other institutions that expressed public interest in the Big Sky Conference.


"Every institution had support from the Presidents, but the Big Sky Conference Presidents were committed to building a consensus in this process,'' said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. "The University of Northern Colorado is where they reached a consensus. I sensed a strong commitment to each other by the Presidents of our member institutions."


The Presidents Council established criteria to evaluate the interested schools. The criteria included academic quality, athletic competitiveness, commitment to gender equity, commitment to student-athlete success and geography with regards to cost of travel and travel time.


A team comprised of a University President, an Athletic Director, a Faculty Representative, a Senior Women's Administrator and Commissioner Fullerton will visit the Greeley campus in early 2005. The traveling team will report to the Presidents Council during a conference call in March. A formal invitation for membership could come as early as March, sometime in April, or not at all.


Weber State University President Dr. F. Ann Millner, the Chair of the Presidents Council, chaired Monday's meeting. Six of the other seven Big Sky Presidents were in attendance. Sacramento State President Dr. Alexander Gonzalez was unable to attend because of the recent death of a respected faculty member.


The Big Sky Conference is currently made up of eight institutions over seven states - Eastern Washington University, Idaho State University, The University of Montana, Montana State University, Northern Arizona University, Portland State University, Sacramento State and Weber State University. The Big Sky Conference was established in 1963 with six charter members - Idaho, Idaho State, Gonzaga, Montana, Montana State and Weber State. This is the Big Sky's fourth year of its current membership.


The Big Sky Conference was a nine-team league for the first time in 1987 when Eastern Washington joined. It remained a nine-team league until 1992 when the University of Nevada left. The Big Sky was once again a nine-team league from 1996-2000. Boise State and Idaho left the Big Sky following the 1995-96 season. Sacramento State, Portland State and Cal State Northridge joined the league in the fall of 1996. Cal State Northridge left following the 2000-2001 campaign, leaving the Big Sky with eight institutions.