Defense holds for Bears win
GREELEY – The best three-point shooting night of the season for Northern Colorado lifted the women's basketball team past the visiting Sacramento State Hornets on Saturday.
The Bears made a season-high 14 three-pointers and held the Hornets starters to 29 points en route to a 68-58 victory. The Bears are now 10-6 on the year with a 2-1 conference record, while the Hornets fall to 7-9 overall and 1-2 in Big Sky play.
Sophomore D'shara Strange led all players with 21 points and 14 rebounds, her third double-double of the year. Fellow sophomore Molly Duehn also scored a career-best 14 points, making 4-of-5 three-point shots. It is the first time in her career Duehn has made more than one triple in a game.
"Molly comes in and plays that four spot, which is a position that's often overlooked on the perimeter," said Head Coach Jaime White. "We knew she had a nice shot when we recruited her and Molly is coming along nicely."
Senior forward Kaisha Brown and freshman center Stephanie Lee also chipped in 10 points each. Brown drained a pair of three-pointers and brings her career total to 170. She now needs seven more to tie for the all-time record at Northern Colorado.
All nine Bears who played on Saturday grabbed at least one rebound as they narrowly edged the Hornets, 46-45 for the contest. The Hornets came into the game the top rebounding offense in the conference while the Bears were the top rebounding defense.
"We knew rebounding was going to be a big deal," said White. "They take a lot of shots so we knew there were going to be rebounds to pull."
The Hornets also entered Saturday as the top scoring offense in the league, averaging 75.3 points per game, but they shot just .289 from the field and .188 from the three-point arc for 58 points.
The Bears defense was also able to snap Kylie Kuhn's streak of 14 straight double-doubles as the junior forward scored just six points, but she did tie for team-high honors with 10 rebounds, knotting Emily Christensen.
"Kim Lockridge had a great defensive night," said White. "Kim doesn't always get the rebounds, but she gets the block outs. She was able to block Kuhns out all night and keep her in check. I felt like (Kuhns) was able to only get one or two clean shots all game."
Strange scored nine of the team's first 12 points of the game after Brown opened the scoring with a three-pointer. Strange ended the first half with 14 and was tied for the team lead with five rebounds. She ended the game with 21 points, the fourth time this year she's topped the 20-point milestone and the second time in three conference games.
"I thought we took care of the ball a little bit better in the first half. A team like that is going to tighten up their defense and D'shara had some turnovers in the second half, but really I felt like she scored the first 14 points in the game for us and she was able to carry us there for a while until we found our way."
The Bears take their 2-1 conference record on the road for a trip to the Pacific Northwest beginning at Portland State on Thursday and ending at Eastern Washington on Saturday afternoon.