Bears bitten by injury bug in El Paso
EL PASO, Texas – Injuries to junior forward Lauren Oosdyke, sophomore guard Molly Duehn and freshman forward Amber Van Deudekom left the Northern Colorado women's basketball team short-handed against UTEP on Tuesday evening and the Miners took advantage, winning 74-51 to stay undefeated and move to 12-0 on the year.
On the positive side, none of the injuries look serious for the Bears (5-5) as Oosdyke was able to return for a few minutes in the second half and both Duehn and Van Deudekom walked off the court after the game. Oosdyke played just 11 minutes, the lowest amount of time she's been on the court since Feb. 11, 2010 against Idaho State. Duehn played eight minutes and had one assist before leaving the game, while Van Deudekom had one rebound in three minutes.
Junior college transfer Hannah Thornton stepped up in Oosdyke's absence in a big way. After playing just seven minutes in the first nine games of the year and missing her only shot, Thornton came out and went 4-for-6 from the field and 3-for-6 from the free throw line for 11 points. She trailed only sophomore guard D'shara Strange who scored 13 and had a game-high three steals.
"Hannah was great for us," said Head Coach Jaime White. "She gave us that toughness factor we needed. She blocked out and she has the quickness to move laterally that we need them to."
Senior Kaisha Brown and junior Victoria Timm tied for rebound honors with five each and Brown led the Bears with four assists. She also nailed two more three-pointers, giving her 160 for her career and moving her just 17 shy of the Northern Colorado career record.
Northern Colorado and UTEP played neck-in-neck the first part of the game and were tied at 17-17 after a fastbreak layup by senior guard Amy Marin with 9:47 to play. However, UTEP went on a 22-2 run over the next 7:48 to build a 20-point lead, 39-19.
"Early on we knocked down some shots, got out in transition and were able to get layups," said White. "They switched to zone and stifled us. We stopped scoring and they kept scoring."
The Bears scored the next eight and the lead for the Miners was 14 at halftime. In the second half, Strange hit a three-pointer at 17:21 to cut the lead to 11, but that was as close as the team could get.
Gloria Brown led the Miners with 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, while Anete Steinberga scored 11. Kelli Willinghman had nine assists and just one turnover in 26 minutes. UTEP made 14-of-19 from the free throw line in the game and all 19 shots were taken in the first half. In fact, 11 of the Bears 14 fouls were called in the first 20 minutes.
"Brown not only scored for them, but got every rebound around the basket," said White. "She really came in and went on a run for them. That's their MO. She comes in off the bench and adds a big spark and it works for them."
The Bears conclude their three-game road trip on Thursday at New Mexico. The two teams tip off at 7:05 pm. Last weekend, UTEP defeated New Mexico 53-43.
"We've played two teams on this trip that are very good," said White. "They are top 50 at least and I think UTEP will be top 25 soon. We have shown that we can play with them. If you take away two runs in each game and we're in a five-point game. We've got to continue to play, be consistent and take care of the ball."