Strong Defensive Effort Gives WBB Seventh Win
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Senior guard Lizzie Cooper started the scoring with a three-pointer from the corner and the Northern Colorado women's basketball team never looked back, winning a 72-53 decision at the Air Force Academy on Wednesday evening, almost matching the score from a year ago 73-53.
With the victory, the Bears improve to 7-6 on the year and win their fourth game in five tries while Air Force slips to 2-10 overall. Northern Colorado also closes out the calendar year with a 6-2 mark in December.
Junior center Brittany Fernandez had a break-out game for the Bears, scoring a season-best eight points in the first half and grabbing a season-best six rebounds. Senior guard Whitley Cox continued her amazing scoring streak, leading all players with 25 on 11-of-14 shooting from the field. Junior guard Courtney Stoermer scored 16 and freshman Lauren Oosdyke chipped in 11 and led all players with seven boards.
With her 25 points, Cox moves into sole possession of sixth place on the career scoring charts with 1,279, moving past Lou Piel (1,260) who played from 1976-80.
"I was really pleased with how we started the game," said Head Coach Jaime White. "I thought it was important to get up early and keep the lead. We wanted to make a statement early. Brittany Fernandez gave us some good minutes and got some key offensive rebounds to keep us in it in the first half."
Guard Raimee Beck led Air Force with 22 points and three Falcons had five rebounds each.
Northern Colorado out-rebounded its third-straight opponent, 42-29 and held the Falcons to nine offensive rebounds. The Bears also committed a season-low 10 turnovers. For the second-straight game the Bears also missed just one free throw, shooting .889 (8-9).
Cox led the way in the first half for the Bears with 14 points, while Fernandez had four of the team's eight offensive rebounds. The Bears held Air Force without a field goal for 8:22, from the 11:14 mark to 2:52 as the Falcons had just five free throws during the stretch. The Bears turned a four-point into a 13-point advantage during the stretch. NC had just two turnovers in the first 20 minutes and forced eight, scoring 11 points off those miscues.
For the second straight game, the Bears also controlled the glass in the first half. Against Colorado State they allowed no offensive rebounds, while tonight they gave up just three in the first stanza.
The Bears return home to begin Big Sky Conference play, hosting Northern Arizona at 7:05 p.m. Last year, the teams split with each winning on its home court.
* Senior guard Whitley Cox has surpassed her career-best four game scoring stretch with (71) in the last four. Her previous best was 90 in the first four games of the 2007-08 season.
* Cox has scored at least 20 points in the last four games.
* Junior center Brittany Fernandez tallied career-bests in both points and rebounds with (eight and six), respectively.
* Sophomore forward Kaisha Brown tied her season-high with six rebounds.
* Junior guard Courtney Stoermer has scored in double figures in 12 straight games, adding 16.