January 31, 2005

Northern Colorado Women Look to Extend Win Streak to Three at IPFW on Sunday

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University of Northern Colorado Bears (5-13)

vs. IPFW Mastodons (2-17)

Game #19 l  Sunday, Feb. 6, 2005  l  1 p.m. (Central)

Fort Wayne, Ind. l  Hilliard Gates Sports Center (2,800)



The University of Northern Colorado Bears' women's basketball team will complete a home-and-home series with the IPFW Mastodons on Super Bowl Sunday in Fort Wayne, Ind.


The Series: 2nd meeting. Northern Colorado leads 1-0. The Bears defeated IPFW, 77-48, on Dec. 30, 2004.


The Coaches: Ron Vlasin is 47-53 in his fourth season as a college coach. Vlasin won nine state championships as a prep coach in Colorado. Bruce Patterson is 23-79 in four years with the Mastodons.


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.


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.





The Bears scored a 77-48 win over IPFW on Dec. 30. That loss by the Mastodons started them on their current nine-game losing streak. IPFW's last win came on Dec. 23 at IUPUI when they scored a 70-69 victory. In the earlier contest, the Bears were led by sophomore forward Danielle Hagen's 13-point 11-rebound performance.



Senior guard Kayla Flavin is still not 100 percent after suffering a torn ACL on Jan. 24, 2004, but she looks to be returning to her form of last season. On Saturday, Flavin netted a season-high 18 points and tied a career-high with five rebounds in the Bears' 75-57 win over Utah Valley State. Flavin is averaging 7.3 points per game this season.



Northern Colorado collected back-to-back wins for the first time this season with victories over Adams State and Utah Valley State. The last time the Bears earned back-to-back wins over Johnson & Wales (Feb. 19, 2004) and Adams State (Feb. 21, 2004) at the end of the 2003-04 season.



Junior forward Cindy McCarroll tallied a career-high 14 points in the win over Utah Valley State. McCarroll drained all seven of her free attempts in the game to help her set her own personal scoring mark. She also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists in the Bears' victory.



Redshirt sophomore center Nicole Ford put together her finest effort as a collegian on Monday when she tallied 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Bears' 75-50 win over Adams State. Ford's previous career-high of 12 points came exactly one year prior against Fort Hays State on Jan. 24, 2004. Ford then followed that effort up on Saturday with another solid effort against Utah Valley State. Against the Wolverines, Ford scored nine points and drained her first career three-pointer in only 16 minutes of action.



Sophomore guard Bailey Dillon tied the Bears' single-game record for highest free throw percentage by making all 10 of her free throw attempts. Dillon tied a record held by Carol Franta (12-12 - Feb. 20, 1987), Jill Fadenrecht (11-11 - Dec. 19, 2000) and Petra Olsen (10-10 - Feb. 6, 1999).



Freshman Dani Veal returned to action on Saturday in the Bears' 75-57 win over Utah Valley State. Veal had missed 11 straight games after injuring her left hip in the first half of the Bears game at San Diego State on Dec. 4. Veal has seen action in seven games this season. She started three contests prior to her injury. Veal has scored nine points and grabbed 21 rebounds in her limited action. Veal was also a member of the Bears' volleyball squad this past fall.



Sophomore guard Heather Barbour will miss the rest of the season after having a rod inserted in her right leg. Barbour missed the second half of the 2003-04 season with a leg injury as well. Barbour played in 15 games (started eight games) this season and averaged 6.3 points per game. In 2003-04 Barbour played in 13 games (started 11 games) and averaged 11.4 points per game.



The Northern Colorado women's basketball team, along with the men's team, helped sponsor a free basketball clinic for area youngsters on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The clinic was attended by nearly 250 children in the eighth grade or younger. All of the attendees received a free ticket to a future Northern Colorado home basketball game.



Sophomore guard Kendra Lambrecht is the Bears' leading scorer this season (9.1 points per game) and as of late, she has become the Bears' top offensive option. Overall this season, Lambrecht has been the Bears' top scorer in seven contests.



Northern Colorado has been bombing away from three-point land all season, but the Bears took it to another level against Colorado State on Jan. 2. 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. UNC's single-game record for 3's attempted is 51.



Northern Colorado has attempted 557 three-pointers for an average of 30.9 attempts per game. The Bears have made 157 three-pointers, while the opposition has drained 131. UNC has made a total of 356 FGs. Seven different Bears have drained at least 10 three-pointers this season. Kendra Lambrect leads the team with 38 three-pointers made.



The Bears had been having a rough go at the foul line this season. Northern Colorado has made 158-of-229 (69.0 percent) free throws compared the opposition who has made 232-of-343 (67.6 percent) of its charity opportunities.



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.



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).



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.



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.



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. The Big Sky site visit team will on campus on Feb. 1-2.


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.