Bring out the brooms, women sweep Mountain West
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Sign the Northern Colorado women's basketball team up for the Mountain West Conference.
The Bears are now 3-0 this year against the league after winning at New Mexico 61-54 on Thursday night, giving them a clean sweep against the MW after earlier wins over Air Force and Colorado State.
And Northern Colorado did it all with just four players scoring against the Lobos. It's the first time since Feb. 2, 2008 at Northern Arizona the Bears had only four score and NC won that won as well (63-56).
"I thought we started the game ready to go," said Head Coach Jaime White. "We not only hit some threes, but we attacked the basket. This is a (New Mexico) team that holds other teams to 50 points. We came out and ran the offense well and took shots within our offense, which really helped us."
Senior forward Kaisha Brown posted a career-best 22 points, topping her previous high by one from Jan. 14, 2010 against Portland State. Brown also tied her season high with four three-pointers, inching her closer to the school's career record. She now has 164 triples, just 13 shy of the all-time mark of 177 by Courtney Stoermer (2007-11).
Sophomore forward Kim Lockridge notched her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Both totals are season-highs and she missed a career-high in scoring by one. Lockridge made her first five shots of the game and drilled her first career three-pointer in the second half, becoming the seventh different Bear to make one this year.
"That's the Kim we know and love," said White. "We need that from her from here on out. She got rebounds, she got finishes and she got a few huge rebounds there torwards the end and made a free throw down the stretch."
Sophomore guard D'shara Strange matched Lockridge in the scoring column with 16 points and missed a double-double by one board with nine. She also added a game-high four assists and played 39 minutes, fouling out in the final seconds of the game.
The fourth player to get a basket was sophomore forward Molly Duehn with seven points. Duehn had a great defensive game, notching career-highs in rebounds with eight and blocked shots with four.
The win also gives head coach Jaime White 68 victories at Northern Colorado, moving her into third on the coaching victories list, past Ron Vlasin who won 67 from 2001-06.
Northern Colorado shot red-hot from the field in the first half, making 15-of-23 for over 65 percent. They ended the game shooting .481 and out-rebounded the Lobos 46-32.
"They were in a mosh pit down low," said White of her rebounders. "That gave us time to kick it out and run our offense. We did a good job with time management. Our goal was to get 40 rebounds and we did that, but I thought we did a better job of is in the second half."
New Mexico was led by Jourdan Erskine with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Lauren Taylor scored 12 and Caroline Durbin added 10. Of the Lobos' 32 rebounds, 18 were on the offensive end of the floor, but they were able to score just 10 second chance points.
"We didn't have our second-leading scorer (Lauren Oosdyke) and we played without any fear," said White. "We can't turn the ball over like we did and give up 18 offensive rebounds, but our kids are believing they can do it."
Oosdyke suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday at UTEP and was out of the lineup for the first time since 2009-10.
"Lauren's a huge part of our team, and it's hard to play without her," said Brown of her teammate and friend. "We all knew we needed to just step it up a little and play hard. I think this is going to help our momentum. Like last year, we need to ride the wave and we need to keep it going."
The Bears have that chance to keep it going on Monday when they host UC Irvine at Butler-Hancock. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 pm.