December 28, 2007

Women's Basketball Heads To California

Dec. 28, 2007

Weekly Release: at San Jose State, at St. Mary's Get Acrobat Reader

Games #12-13

Northern Colorado (5-6) at San Jose State (1-11)

Friday, Dec. 28 • San Jose, Calif. • The Event Center (5,000) • 7:00 p.m.

Northern Colorado at St. Mary's (6-8)

Sunday, Dec. 30 • Moraga, Calif. • McKeon Pavilion • 2:05 p.m.

The Series........................... SJS....................... SMC

Overall Record..................... 0-0........................ 0-0

In Greeley........................... 0-0........................ 0-0

At Opponent......................... 0-0........................ 0-0

At Neutral Sites.................... 0-0........................ 0-0

Last Meeting........................ NA....................... NA

 The Coaches

Northern Colorado.... Jaime White (10-29, second year)

San Jose State............ Pam DeCosta (1-11, first year)

St. Mary's.............................. Paul Thomas (20-22, second year)


   KFKA 1310 AM.............. J.J. McKay, play-by-play

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                San Jose State 

 On The Road Again

Northern Colorado closes out the 2007 calendar year with a pair of non-conference tilts in California. The Bears open the trip at San Jose State on Friday evening and then conclude with a mid-afternoon matchup at St. Mary's. This is the first-ever meeting with both clubs.

She's Back

Head Coach Jaime White luckily missed just two games during her medical leave of absence. She returned to the bench in a limited role at Wyoming. White announced after the game against UMKC she had to undergo emergency surgery for cancer and will undergo radiation treatments later in the season.

Matching W's

With the win over Columbia, Northern Colorado tied its win total from last season, posting its fifth victory of the year. In 2006-07, the Bears were 5-24, while this year they are 5-6. Through the first 11 games last season, the team had just two victories and both were over Division II schools, while this year, all five wins are against Division I teams.

On These Dates

Historically, Northern Colorado has played well at the end of the year. The Bears are 3-1 all-time in games played on December 28 and are 3-3 on December 30. NC also sports a 2-1 record on the road on the 28th, and won the last contest on the 30th in 2004 against IPFW, a 77-48 victory.

Immediate Impact

Those close to the 2007-08 team knew the incoming freshmen class was going to make an immediate impact upon the team. The four who have played in the majority of the games this season (Kate Kevorken, Courtney Stoermer, Lara Merritt and Paige Ricker) are making up 39 percent of the team's scoring, 35 percent of the rebounding, 32 percent of the assists and 33 percent of the steals. If you add in the two junior college transfers in Jamie Schroeder and Lizzie Cooper those numbers increase to 54 of scoring, 54 of rebounding, 50 of assists and 63 of steals.

A Quick Look Back

For the first time this season, the Bears lost two games in a row, falling at 24th-ranked Wyoming 68-37 and 62-51 to UMKC at Butler-Hancock. Freshman guard Kate Kevorken led the team with 11.0 points per game and got her first starting nod of the year at the Cowgirls. She also hit six of seven free throw attempts on the week. Senior center Danielle Hagen led the team in rebounding with a 6.0 per game average and had a team-best four steals. Freshman forward Lara Merritt had the best week of her young career, averaging 6.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as well as hitting seven of eight from the charity stripe. Fellow freshman Courtney Stoermer  led the way with six assists and had one of the two blocked shots on the week. The downfall for NC was they committed 41 turnovers in the two games, while forcing just 26 and shot just .219 from beyond the arc, well below the season average of .320.

Closing In

Several Bears are closing in on career or season milestones. Senior center Danielle Hagen needs just eight points to score the 700th of her career and needs four blocked shots for 50. Sophomore guard Chelsie Luhring is now just four points shy of 50 for her career at Northern Colorado. Hagen also has 215 assists in her career, needing 11 more to move into the top 10 all-time at NC and with  nine more she will take over the record for most assists since beginning the transition to Division I (223, Bailey Dillon, 2003-07). She already holds the record for career rebounds as a member of Div. I with her 619 caroms.

Home Sweet Home

Freshman guard Kate Kevorken really likes playing in Butler-Hancock. Four of her six double figure scoring games have come at home this year and she leads the active team with 12.5 points per game, shooting .406 from the field and .362 from beyond the arc as well as being third on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game during the six home contests. In games away from B-H she is averaging 8.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and shooting .342 from the field and .286 from the three-point line in five games.

Down On The Block

Senior center Danielle Hagen continues to rebound the ball extremely well. Hagen now has 619 caroms in her career, needing just 36 more to tie for eighth, tying Marianne Clark (1996-00) with 655. Hagen also added four assists in the two games last week and now has 215 in her career, needing just 11 to break onto that career list.

Early Start

The secret to success for Northern Colorado is the first 20 minutes of play. If the Bears head to the locker room with the lead at halftime, they win, and if they trail, they lose. The Bears are 5-0 in 2007-08 when leading at the break and 0-6 when trailing. When leading at the half, the Bears are averaging 34.6 points and 24.2 rebounds in the first half, while shooting .401 from the field and holding opponents to 23.8 points and 19.6 rebounds with a .314 field goal percentage. When trailing at the half, the Bears are averaging 23.5 points and 18.5 rebounds while shooting just .309 from the field. The opposition is averaging 32.7 points and 19.5 rebounds while connecting on .443 of their shots.

No One Likes To See That

Unfortunately, junior guard Whitley Cox suffered a season-ending injury to her left knee in the game against Air Force. Cox will hopefully be able to receive a medical hardship and have two full seasons of eligibility remaining. She was leading the team and ranked second in the Big Sky Conference averaging 20.1 points per game. She also led the squad with 3.8 assists per game and was third on the club with 5.3 rebounds per game.

Take Two, They're Free

In 10 of 11 games this year, Northern Colorado has shot a higher free throw percentage than the opponent. The Bears are connecting on .700 percent of their charity stripe attempts, compared to just .615 for the opposition. Last week the team hit .703 (26-37) from the free throw line.

Protecting The Hoop

Along with the 5-6 record, the Bears have put together a solid defensive effort. They have held seven of the 11 opponents below 30 percent shooting from the three-point line and seven of 11 below 41 percent from the field, including two below 30 percent. The Bears have also forced double figure turnovers nine times.

Double-Double Trouble

Northern Colorado has had at least one player record a double-double six times already this year. Senior center Danielle Hagen tallied 12 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against Colorado State, freshman guard Kate Kevorken had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Southeast Missouri State and junior guard Jamie Schroeder had 11 points and 11 rebounds against Pacific and 18 points and 11 boards against Columbia. Junior guard Whitley Cox notched two; one in the opener against San Francisco with 25 points and 10 rebounds and one at New Mexico State with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Last season there were only six double-doubles recorded in 29 games.

Leading The Way - Team Wise

Through games played on Dec. 24, Northern Colorado ranks second in the Big Sky Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense (.273), rebounding offense (40.3), rebounding margin (+1.8) and three-pointers made (7.09)

Leading The Way - Individually

In the individual Big Sky Conference statistics, senior center Danielle Hagen ranks second in the league in rebounds (9.8), offensive rebounds (3.0) and defensive rebounds (6.8). Freshman Kate Kevorken ranks fifth in three-pointers made per game (2.27), while fellow freshman Courtney Stoermer is sixth in three-point field-goal percentage (.429) and third in minutes played (35.18).

Wire To Wire

Northern Colorado led the game from the opening tip to the closing buzzer against both San Francisco and Columbia. The Bears scored the first nine points of the game against the Dons and led by as many as 28 with just under 11 minutes to play in the second half. Against the Lions, the Bears scored the first eight and led by as many as 22. Last season the Bears never led a contest from the beginning through the end of the game.

Now Eligible

The Northern Colorado women's basketball team is now eligible to compete in postseason play in 2007 after successfully making the transition to Division I. This year marks the first year the Bears are also eligible to win the Big Sky Conference Championship as well as compete in the Big Sky Tournament.

Chosen Ninth

The University of Northern Colorado women's basketball team was chosen by both the Big Sky Conference coaches and media to finish ninth in league play during 2007-08. The Bears received 11 votes in the coaches poll and 34 in the media poll. Montana was picked to win in both the coaches and media preseason polls, while Idaho State is picked to finish second in both polls.

On The Horizon

Northern Colorado continues to inch closer to a large program milestone. The win against Columbia marked the 484th win in program history and the team now needs 16 for 500. The Bears are 484-474 all-time.

Bears Add Three

Head Coach Jaime White announced the signing of three student-athletes in Kaisha Brown, Courtney Kranz and Lauren Oosdyke.

Kaisha Brown, 5-10, G/F, Spirit Lake, Iowa (Spirit Lake HS)

Brown averaged 14.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a junior with four games over 20 or more points in a game. Was a second-team All-Northwest Iowa Girls Basketball selection last year.

Courtney Kranz, 6-3, C, Mendota Heights, Minn. (Visitation HS)

Kranz is a three-time letterwinner entering her senior season with the Blazers. She is also a two-time all-conference selection and was the only unanimous pick as a junior. She helped lead her team to the conference championship last year and also is a three-time letterwinner in volleyball, where her team was three-time conference champions. She plays club basketball for the NC Heat where they placed third at the AAU Nationals last season.

Lauren Oosdyke, 5-11, F, Coto de Caza, Calif. (Santa Margarita Catholic HS)

Was a first-team All-Trinity League selection as a junior after being named a second-team all-conference selection in the Sierra League as a sophomore. She has also been named to several all-tournament teams throughout her career. Averages 10 points and eight rebounds per game to go along with a 58% field goal percentage from the field.

Scouting The Spartans

San Jose State is just 1-11 on the season and the two teams have both faced San Francisco and Pacific. The Bears defeated the Dons in the season opener 75-51, while the Spartans fell 74-51 in San Francisco. Against the Tigers, San Jose State fell in overtime 75-74, while NC won 67-58. SJSU also lost to Sacramento State, 60-57, which the Bears play in a few weeks.

Natalie White leads the team in both scoring and rebounding with per game averages of 15.8 and 6.8, respectively. Brittany Powell is second in both categories averaging 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Brittany Imaku leads the way with 52 assists and 19 steals through the first 12 games, while Powell has 13 blocked shots.

SJSU is averaging 59.9 points, 39.5 rebounds and 4.3 three-pointers per game, while shooting.374 from the field, .283 from the three-point line and .592 from the free throw line. Opponents are averaging 71.1 points, 41.2 rebounds and 5.3 triples a game. They are also shooting .424 from the field, .364 from beyond the arc and .635 from the charity stripe.

Scouting The Gaels

St. Mary's is 6-8 on the year, but has lost six of its last seven contests, playing a very tough schedule. The Gaels defeated Pacific 82-68 earlier this season, while the Bears defeated the Tigers 67-58.

Jontelle Smith leads the team with 16.4 points per game, while Louella Tomlinson is averaging 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds for second in both categories. Lauren Shaughnessy leads with 5.6 rebounds per contest and has a team-best 42 assists and 30 steals. Tomlinson also leads the way with 68 blocked shots on the year.

St. Mary's is averaging 71.5 points, 40.8 rebounds and 6.6 three-pointers per game, while shooting .389 from the floor, .361 from the three-point line and .659 from the free throw line. The opposition is averaging 78.1 points, 46.4 rebounds and 5.6 three-pointers per game, while shooting .421 from the field, .389 from the arc and .653 from the free throw line.

A Glimpse Into The Future

The Bears begin Big Sky Conference play at Idaho State on Jan. 3 (7:05) before facing Weber State on Jan. 5 (2:05). The next home game for Northern Colorado will be on Jan. 17 against Eastern Washington (7:05).