Bears streaking right along
GREELEY, Colo. – Despite a combined 54 turnovers and 38 fouls between the two teams, the University of Northern Colorado women's basketball survived a physical contest against Northern Arizona to win its fifth-straight game, 72-58.
The Bears (11-9, 6-1 Big Sky) also won their ninth straight game in Butler-Hancock, tying for the third-longest streak in school history. This is the longest overall winning streak for the Bears since the 2000 team won seven straight.
"Teams are going to put their best foot forward against us every night and we've got to be ready to go," said Head Coach Jaime White. "I didn't want that dip between the first and second halves that we sometimes had so I told the team we had to come out and score first and Kaisha (Brown) hit that three-pointer in the corner to start the second half and I thought after that things went pretty good."
Four players scored in double figures for the Bears, as sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke led the team with 17, while freshman guard D'shara Strange and sophomore Victoria Timm each scored 13 and freshman forward Kim Lockridge chipped in 10.
Timm scored nine of her 13 points from the free throw line, going a perfect 9-for-9 making half of the team's shots on the evening. Brown made three triples in the game, giving her 129 for her career, which moves her into a tie for sixth all-time at Northern Colorado.
Senior center Brittany Fernandez tallied a season-best nine rebounds and had two huge blocked shots in the game.
The Lumberjacks (7-13, 2-5 Big Sky) were led by Tyler Stephens-Jenkins with 22 points behind the strength of five three-pointers, three late in the game, and Trinidee Trice and Amy Patton came off the bench to score 12 and 10, respectively. Shay May led the team with eight boards and Vickie Toney had a game-best four steals.
Defense was again the name of the game for the Bears as they held their 11th opponent this season to 60 points or less and improved to 10-1 when doing so. NC out-rebounded NAU, 44-32 in the game but did commit a season-high 26 turnovers.
"We always talk about how there's nothing we can do about the other team, we've got to play our game, we've got to get better for us and run stuff we haven't and it worked out the way I wrote it," White said with a laugh. "I was pleased with the way we defended. We didn't necessarily know what we were defending, which is great. The first play of the game, we had never seen, so our kids were able to convert during the flow of the game and understand what they were supposed to do. We were able to go from an unknown to understanding exactly what the other team is doing and that's what produced the defense in the first half."
In a weird twist in the schedule, Northern Colorado faces Weber State exactly one week after playing them in Ogden. The Bears and Wildcats meet on Saturday at 2:05 pm in Butler-Hancock.
"We've got to be ready to play the way we did tonight," said White. "Weber State is a very physical team and CT (WSU head coach Carla Taylor) always has a great game plan. We have to change some of the things we did in Ogden and we have to make sure we take care of ourselves offensively."