WBB Preview: Hawkeye Challenge
Northern Colorado will compete in its only regular season tournament of the year this weekend, playing in the Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa. The Bears face Central Michigan in the first round on Saturday and then either #22/24 Iowa or Northeastern in the second round on Sunday. Northern Colorado has never faced any of the other three teams in the challenge.
Last Time Out
A 10-0 run late in the first half gave Northern Colorado a 14-point lead against Santa Clara and the Bears held on for the 65-57 win in Butler-Hancock on Wednesday. The Broncos (0-2) fought back to knot the score at 43-43 with 12:04 to play, but the Bears (2-1) scored 10 of the next 12 points to retain the lead and win their second straight game. Freshman guard D'shara Strange and junior forward Kaisha Brown each scored 16 points, while senior guard Courtney Stoermer added 12. Sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke had a team-best nine rebounds and added three steals on the night. Stoermer also had a team-high four assists, while Strange had a season-best five steals.
NC vs Central Michigan
The Bears and Chippewas have never met on the hardwood for women's basketball before. In fact, Northern Colorado has never met any of the potential opponents in this weekend's Hawkeye Challenge.
Scouting Central Michigan
Central Michigan has not had a lack of scoring in its first two games, posting over 100 in each and are averaging 110.5 points per game. Both Kaihla Szunko (20.5) and Shonda Long (20.0) are averaging 20 points per game, while six players on the team are getting double figures. Szunko also leads the club with 14.0 rebounds per game. The Chippewas are shooting .482 from the field and .345 from three-point land, averaging 10 triples a game. They are also averaging 18.5 steals per game.
The Hawkeyes are ranked in both polls after a 3-0 start to the season. This will be the 25th anniversary of the Hawkeye Challenge and Iowa has won 19 with an impressive 42-6 record all-time. Four Hawkeyes are averaging double figures in points, led by Jaime Printy (15.0). Kachine Alexander leads the team in rebounds with 9.0 per game. While the shooting from the floor hasn't been great (.395 fg, .244 3-fg), Iowa is fantastic at the line, hitting 80 percent of its free throws.
The Huskies are looking for their first win of the year in Iowa City, starting 0-2. Rachael Pecota is the only member of the team averaging double figures in scoring with 22.0 a game. Afreyea Tolbert is getting a team-best 7.5 rebounds a game. The team is combining to shoot .319 from the floor and .318 from behind the arc. They are also shooting .692 from the free throw line. The main difference in their games this season seems to be rebounding as the Huskies are getting out-boarded 52.5-33.5 per game.
On This Date
Northern Colorado is 7-3 in games played on Nov. 20 as well as 6-4 on the 21st. The majority of games on the 20th have been at home as the Bears are 0-2 on the road and 7-1 in the friendly confines of Butler-Hancock and have yet to play a neutral game. On the 21st, the Bears are 4-1 at home, 2-1 on the road and 0-2 on a neutral court. A season ago, the Bears lost games on each date in the Preseason WNIT.
Home Sweet Home
Northern Colorado has three players on its roster from the Hawkeye State in seniors Courtney Stoermer and Jayne Strand and junior Kaisha Brown. Stoermer hails from Iowa City and her brother is a junior on the Iowa men's team. Strand was high school teammates with current Hawkeye Trisha Nesbitt at Ames High School and Brown's older sister was on the Iowa softball team from 2007-10.
Downtown Kaisha Brown
Junior forward Kaisha Brown hit three three-pointers against Santa Clara on Wednesday, becoming one of just 13 players in Northern Colorado history to make 100 or more in their career. With just 14 more, Brown will climb into the top 10 in NC history. She has made two or more triples in each of the first three games this season and is tied for second in the Big Sky statistics with 2.3 three's per game.
A Strange Thief
Freshman D'shara Strange currently leads the Big Sky Conference in steals per game at 3.7 a contest. She has at least three thefts in the first three games, with a career-best five -- all coming in the first half -- against Santa Clara. If she keeps up her current thefts, with 29 games on the schedule, she will shatter the single season record of 85 held by Lisa Burch (1990-91) as Strange is on pace for 107.
Good Things Happen
When scoring at least 70 points under Coach Jaime White, Northern Colorado has a record of 29-6, including a 1-0 mark in 2010-11. A year ago, the Bears went 8-2 when putting at least 70 on the scoreboard.
On Friday, the Bears shot just .295 from the field and .545 from the free throw line in the overtime loss to South Dakota. The team quickly improved both numbers, shooting .518 from the floor and .800 from the free throw line in the victory over Air Force. The .221 improvement in shooting from the field is the biggest in over a decade. The only other two game stretch where the Bears shot over 20 percent better from the field was in January, 2007 when the team shot just .306 at Montana and then hit at a .510 clip against Sacramento State.
Five For 10
In Northern Colorado's 79-56 win over Air Force, five Bears tallied double-figure points. It is the first time since Feb. 13, 2009 against Black Hills State the team has accomplished that feat.
The Bears were picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky preseason polls voted on by both the coaches and media. Montana was picked to win the title by both groups, while Eastern Washington, Portland State and Montana State are in the top four, respectively.
Moving On Up
Senior guard Courtney Stoermer moved up one more spot on the career scoring charts at Northern Colorado to 10th. She now has 1,083 career points, needing just 39 points to take over ninth on the list.
Senior guard Courtney Stoermer broke the Northern Colorado all-time record for career minutes played in just the second game of her senior season. Stoermer has now played 3,349 minutes in 93 games with the Bears, breaking the previous record of 3,256 minutes by Shelley Lindstrom (1988-92). Stoermer averages 36.0 minutes per game through her career and has played 40 or more minutes in 30 games.
Northern Colorado freshmen and transfers have combined for 46 points, 34 rebounds and 17 steals through the first three games of the season. The four freshmen and one junior college transfer are responsible for 22.9% of the team's scoring, 32.1% of rebounding, 25.7% of assists and 54.8% of the steals.
Best In The Big Sky
Northern Colorado has a +8.7 scoring margin through three games, the top mark in the Big Sky Conference statistics. The Bears are also first in field goal percentage (.414), field goal percentage defense (.365), turnover margin (+4.7) and defensive rebounding percentage (.700). Individually, freshman D'shara Strange leads in steals (3.7).
Northern Colorado added two new assistant coaches for the 2010-11 season in Thomas Perkins and Anna Bateman. Both have previous ties to head coach Jaime White. Perkins coached White while she played at Utah Valley, while Bateman played her freshman season under White at Snow.
Free For All
Forward Lauren Oosdyke and guard Courtney Stoermer became just the eighth and ninth players in Northern Colorado history to make 100 free throws in a season. Oosdyke sank 102 free throws, while Stoermer had 101, during 2009-10, coming within two and three of breaking the school's Division I record of 104 by Heather Barbour (2006-07).
Senior guard Courtney Stoermer already ranks in the top five in four different statistical career categories at Northern Colorado. Stoermer is now third in steals (172), fourth in assists (310) and free throws made (290) and tied for fourth in three-pointers with 137. Stoermer also ranks 10th in both scoring (1,083) and blocked shots (61).
Lucky Number Six
Twice during the 2009-10 season, forward Kaisha Brown tied the Division I school record for three-pointers in a game with six. Brown hit six at Cal State Northridge and against Portland State. She now ranks 13th in school history with 97 three-pointers, needing 17 more to break into the school's top 10.
Guard Courtney Stoermer recorded the first triple double in Division I school history at Sacramento State on Jan. 21, 2010 with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Her triple double was also the only one in the Big Sky Conference during the 2009-10 season.
Senior guard Courtney Stoermer ended the 2009-10 season with 58 steals and is now third on the Northern Colorado all-time charts with 172. She needs just 17 steals to tie the school record of 189 steals held by Renee L'Heureux (1981-85).
Northern Colorado has now made at least one three-pointer in 270 consecutive games, dating all the way back to Jan. 20, 2001 at South Dakota State.
Northern Colorado's head women's basketball coach Jaime White announced three players, from three different states, have signed National Letters of Intent to come play basketball for Northern Colorado. Lindsay Mallon, Amber Van Deudekom, and Stephanie Lee all have committed to becoming Bears next fall.
Amber Van Deudekom, 5-11, F, Brea, Calif. (Brea Olinda High School)
Four year letter-winner for the Ladycats … Helped lead the Ladycats to a 31-3 overall record last season and finished ranked number three in California 2A rankings … She was named her team's most improved player in both her sophomore and junior seasons … This year, she has been named a team-captain … In 2010, she averaged 8.3 points per game and 8 rebounds per game … She is a four-time scholar athlete as well as a member of the National Honor Society … Her Ladycats were named league champions last season as well as state champions during her sophomore campaign … She played club basketball for the Cal Swish.
"Amber is an extremely physical and aggressive player," White said. "She is definitely able to play both the 4 and 5-spots with her physical skills. What's great about Amber is that she's played on one of the best high school teams in the nation, which brings a great winning mental approach to our club. We're excited to see what she can bring to Northern Colorado."
Stephanie Lee, 6-1, C, Casper, Wyo. (Natrona County High School)
Stephanie lettered all four years for the Mustangs … In just her sophomore year, she was already named to the all-conference team … During her junior year she was named to the all-state team as well as being named team captain … She was also the Girl's Basketball MVP in her junior season … She average 14.7 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game as a junior … Helped lead the Mustangs conference championships in each of the first three years of her career … During her sophomore season, the team finished third in the state … She is a member of the National Honor Society as well as a yearly sight on the honor roll.
"Steph is very quick for a forward of her size," White said. "We're excited to see what kind of match-up problems she can create because she can run the floor well and can score from both inside and outside. We're lucky to have her here on campus and can't wait to get her onto the court."
Lindsay Mallon, 6-0, G, Lone Tree, Colo. (Highlands Ranch High School)
Lettered three times in basketball and four time in soccer while playing for the Falcons of Highlands Ranch … She helped lead her team to two straight Continental League Championships during her sophomore and junior seasons … She was all-state honorable mention last season .. She has also been named to the second team all-league in soccer … She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been named to the honor roll every year of her high school career.
"Lindsay is extremely versatile," White said. "She has good size, but she is skilled enough to play anything from the point to a small-forward. Another thing that makes her so unique is that she is a lefty. A lot of players aren't used to guarding left-handed players, so she could be harder to defend against. She's a player who loves to push the tempo and will be an excellent addition to the team."