Women's Basketball Hits The Road In Big Sky Action
COMPLETE NOTES: at Eastern Washington, at Portland State
Back To Big Sky
Northern Colorado returns to Big Sky Conference play with a road trip to Eastern Washington and Portland State. The Bears face the Eagles on Thursday evening, before a Saturday afternoon tilt against the Vikings. Portland State currently sits atop the Big Sky standings with a 4-0 record, while Eastern Washington is in third with a 3-1 mark.
On These Dates
Northern Colorado is 5-4 on January 15 and 6-3 on January 17. The Bears have posted a 3-3 record at home and 2-1 on the road on the 15th with the last game coming in 2006. In conference games on that date they are 3-2 with the last game being a 53-46 victory over Minnesota State-Mankato in 2000. On the 17th, the Bears are 5-2 at home and 1-1 on the road. Last season, the Bears defeated Eastern Washington 71-57 on the 17th.
Northern Colorado owns a 3-1 advantage over Eastern Washington with all four games coming in Big Sky Conference play, while they are 2-4 all-time against Portland State with five of the six meetings coming since the Bears joined The Sky in 2006-07. In Cheney, the Bears are 1-1 winning last season, and they are searching for their first win in Portland, posting an 0-2 record. Northern Colorado has a two-game winning streak against Eastern Washington, while Portland State has a two-game streak over Northern Colorado as the two teams met in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Missoula.
Scouting The Eagles
Eastern Washington is off to its best start in Big Sky Conference play in quite a while, standing in third place with a 3-1 mark. Last Saturday they defeated Weber State, snapping a nine-game BSC road losing streak and it was their largest road victory (82-68) in Big Sky play since 2005. Overall, EWU is 8-9 on the year and 6-2 at home. Both teams have played San Francisco and Pacific in the non-conference with Eastern Washington winning both contests and Northern Colorado losing both. Kyla Evans leads the team with 11.4 points per game, while Julie Piper is second in scoring at 10.8 and leads in rebounds with 7.1 per game. In conference play, both EWU and NC lost to Idaho State with the Eagles falling by 17 points (71-54) and the Bears by five (60-55), while both defeated Weber State with EWU winning by 14 (82-68) and NC by 13 (66-53).
Scouting The Vikings
Portland State sits atop the Big Sky Conference standings with a 4-0 mark, while they are 11-5 overall, winning four straight and six of its last seven. The Vikings and Bears did not face any common non-conference opponents, but PSU defeated Weber State (76-63) and Idaho State (70-61) last weekend. Kelsey Kahle is the only player averaging double figures in points with 16.7 per game and she also leads with 5.9 rebounds. Kelli Valentine is second in both categories with 9.9 and 5.1, respectively. Claire Faucher ranks second in the conference with 6.19 assists and 2.06 steals per game.
Last Time Out
Playing on the East Coast for the only time this season, Northern Colorado dropped a close 77-74 game at Columbia. Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer led the Bears with 16 points, six assists and three steals, while junior guard Whitley Cox added 14 points and three steals and freshman forward Kaisha Brown scored 13 points. Freshman center Courtney Kranz started the first game of her career and was one of three Bears with five rebounds and she also had two blocked shots. The game had 47 combined turnovers and 44 combined fouls with the Lions attempting 20 more free throws than the Bears.
On six different occasions this season, the Bears have held the opposition to less than 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Northern Colorado ranks second in the Big Sky Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to just .288 from the arc. In two of the team's five home games, the opponent has been held scoreless from beyond the point line.
To Start Or Not To Start?
That is the question for sophomore forward Kate Kevorken. She has started seven games this season and come off the bench in eight. As a starter she is averaging 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds, shooting .407 from the field and .354 from beyond the arc. Off the bench, she is averaging 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds, shooting .327 from the field and .268 from the three-point line, however the team is 2-5 when she starts and 5-3 when she's coming in as a substitute.
Joining The Elite
Northern Colorado recently announced its Hall of Fame class for 2009 and former women's basketball standout Trish Williamson will be inducted with 11 other members and two teams in late February. Williamson is the only First-Team All-American in school history. She still holds the school's rebounds record with 951, as well as ranks second in scoring (1,590 points) and field goals made (663) and third in both free throws made (258) and steals (161). She becomes the eighth women's basketball player and just the third student-athlete to play only women's basketball (the other five were multi-sport athletes) for the Bears.
Of the 12 players who are on the roster and have played this season, nine are either freshmen or sophomores. Currently, those youngsters are accounting for 60.8 percent of the team's scoring and 63.2 percent of the rebounding. The freshmen class, consisting of Kaisha Brown, Courtney Kranz, Cassie Lambrecht, Cayla Maneotis and Lauren Oosdyke account for .262 of the scoring and .294 of the rebounding, while the quartet of Kate Kevorken, Lara Merritt, Paige Ricker and Courtney Stoermer are responsible for .346 of the scoring and .338 of the rebounding.
And One Makes 100
Freshman forward Kaisha Brown needs just one more point to score the 100th of her career. She will become the fifth player this season to top 100 points. Junior guard Whitley Cox is also close to a milestone as she needs 23 points for 900, while sophomore forward Kate Kevorken is two three-pointers shy of making 100 for her career.
The trio of Kate Kevorken (28), Kaisha Brown (24) and Courtney Stoermer (20) are dangerous from the outside. The three players have combined to make 72 three-pointers on the year, 10 more than the Bears' opposition. Three other players, Lizzie Cooper, Cassie Lambrecht and Jamie Schroeder have all sunk more than 10 triples this season, aiding the Bears in making 116 for a league-leading 7.7 per game. The Northern Colorado single season record for three-pointers made is 265 and the Bears are currently on pace to make 232.
That's A C For All You Romans
The win against Weber State marked the program's 500th all-time victory, bringing the record since 1974 to 500-491. The Bears defeated the Wildcats 66-53 to hit the milestone in the 35th season of women's basketball.
Sophomore forward Kate Kevorken now stands alone in 10th place on the Northern Colorado career three-pointers made chart with 98. Next on the list is Bailey Dillon (2003-07) and Lindy Kirkland (2001-03) in eighth place with 111 triples each. The school record for three-pointers is 173 by Missy McVoy (1994-98).
Crashing The Boards
Freshman center Courtney Kranz has dominated the boards over the last five games, garnering at least five in each, averaging a team-best 7.6 rebounds a game over the stretch. In the first 10 games of the season, she had 19 total rebounds, while she has grabbed 37 in the last five. She is now fourth on the team averaging 3.7 boards a contest.
Shuffling The Deck
Through the first 15 games, head coach Jaime White has used six different starting lineups. Only sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer has started all 15 games, while eight players have been on the floor for opening tip. Both junior guards Lizzie Cooper and Whitley Cox have started 14, senior forward Jamie Schroeder has started 13 games, while sophomore forward Lara Merritt has started 10, sophomore forward Kate Kevorken has begun seven and freshmen Kaisha Brown and Courtney Kranz each have one start.
Block That Shot
After recording just six blocked shots in the first six games, Northern Colorado has picked up their defense when it comes to blocks, tallying 38 blocks in the last seven games with at least three in each game. In those seven games, freshman center Courtney Kranz leads the way with 11 blocks, while fellow freshman Cayla Maneotis has seven.
Junior guard Whitley Cox currently sits with 877 points in her career, needing just 123 more to hit the big milestone of 1,000 career points. At her current pace of 11.9 points per game, Cox should hit the grand mark against Portland State on February 19, becoming just the 14th player in Northern Colorado history to hit the milestone.
What An Honor
Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer became the first Bear this season to be named the Big Sky player of the week, earning the award after scoring a career-best 24 points against Johnson & Wales. Stoermer hit 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and established a new Division I program record, shooting .900 (9-of-10) from the field. She also tallied two steals, three assists, two blocked shots and two rebounds in just 23 minutes of play. This is the first career award for Stoermer.
Against Washington, NC recorded 21 assists on 22 baskets, with only a drive to the hoop by junior Whitley Cox being unassisted in the entire contest. It is the best assist-to-basket ratio since the team began the transition to Division I in 2003-04. Seven different Bears tallied at least one assist in the win, led by a career-high tying performance of seven from senior forward Jamie Schroeder.
For the second time this year, Northern Colorado came back to win a game after entering the locker room trailing on the scoreboard at halftime. Against Weber State, the Bears were down 31-29, but outscored the Wildcats 37-22 in the second stanza for the 13-point victory. The Bears were also down 39-33 at the break against Washington, but outscored them 32-24 in the final 20 minutes for the 65-63 victory. A year ago, the Bears were just 1-13 in games when they trailed at halftime, reinforcing the need for the team to jump out early.
Bring On The Pac-10
Northern Colorado is now a perfect 2-0 against the Pac-10 this season, defeating both Washington and Washington State in non-conference play. The Bears entered the 2008-09 season 6-4 all-time against the Pac-10 but not having faced a member of that conference since the 1978-79 season.
The Bears have adapted a rebound by committee attitude for this season, as six different players have led the team in rebounding in the 15 games. Senior Jamie Schroeder has now led the team six times, while freshman Courtney Kranz has led four times and freshman Kaisha Brown, junior Whitley Cox, sophomore Kate Kevorken and sophomore Lara Merritt have also led the team once. The Bears have five different active players currently averaging over three rebounds a game.
Sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer was named to the odwalla Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while shooting .563 (9-16) from the floor and .818 (9-11) from the free throw line.
Best In The Big Sky
In the Big Sky Conference statistics, Northern Colorado leads the league in three-pointers made with 7.73 a contest and they rank second in scoring defense (64.3), field goal percentage defense (.395), three-point field goal percentage defense (.288) and blocked shots (3.20). Individually, senior Jamie Schroeder leads the way in three-point field goal percentage, shooting .486. In conference games only, both Courtney Kranz and Kate Kevorken rank first in free throw percentage, making all of their attempts.
Among The Best
Through games played Jan. 11, Northern Colorado ranks 12th in three-pointers made per game (7.7), 43rd in three-point field goal percentage (.356) and 48th in turnovers per game (16.2). Individually, sophomore Courtney Stoermer ranks 77th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.53.
Youth Is Served
Northern Colorado has the youngest team in the Big Sky Conference this season as 11 of the 16 on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores. Portland State also has 68.8 percent of its roster as either freshmen or sophomores, but the Bears have six freshmen, compared to four for the Vikings. The Bears also have just one senior on the roster in forward Jamie Schroeder.
Northern Colorado topped the century mark in scoring for just the 15th time in school history and the first time since 2002-03 when they scored 101 against San Jose State. The last time the Bears scored over 100 was 103 against NYIT on Dec. 6, 2003. The school record for points in a game is 115 against Norwich on Jan. 5, 1998.
The Long Ball
Northern Colorado shot .579 from beyond the arc against Air Force, establishing a new school record for three-point field goal percentage (in the Division I era). The Bears made 11-of-19, breaking the old record of .531 (17-32) at Hastings College on Feb. 5, 2004 (minimum 10 makes). Six different Bears made at least one triple.
The Big Sky Conference announced the 2008-09 preseason polls for women's basketball and the Bears were chosen to finish fourth by both the coaches and media after finishing fifth a year ago. Montana was picked to repeat as champions, while Portland State and Montana State were nabbed second and third, respectively.
Northern Colorado has now made at least one three-pointer in 222 consecutive games, dating all the way back to Jan. 20, 2001 at South Dakota State.
Putting It In Writing
Head Coach Jaime White signed Jayne Strand to a National Letter of Intent recently. As a freshman at Kirkwood Community College, Strand averaged five points and 4.2 rebounds per game in helping the team to the Junior College National Championship. She was a three-sport athlete for the Cyclones of Ames HS, earning four letters in cross country and three each in soccer and basketball. She was a three-time all-conference selection in cross country and an honorable mention all-conference pick in basketball as a senior. She was also a multiple time honor roll selection and a two-time academic all-conference pick.