March 14, 2012

Bears can't steal way to win at Colorado

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

BOULDER, Colo. -- Despite a Northern Colorado Division I single season school record 23 steals, the Bears were unable to come away with a victory at Colorado in the First Round of the WNIT. The team forced Colorado into 27 turnovers, tying for the highest miscues by an opponent since the season opener at Bradley.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't come down to just turnovers and steals, but points on the scoreboard, and the Buffaloes won that category, 42-35. The game was the opening round of the WNIT and concludes the Bears season with a 20-12 overall record.

Junior forward Lauren Oosdyke was the only Bear to score in double figures with 15 points, but the star of the show was senior Amy Marin playing in her final collegiate game. Marin led all players with five assists – tying a career high and had a career-best eight steals, which ranks third amongst Division I players (11, D'shara Strange at Bradley 11-12-11; 9, Courtney Stoermer vs November Arizona, 1-31-09).

Junior guard Victoria Timm added nine point and five steals , while sophomore center Kim Lockridge led the club with six rebounds.

Senior forward Kaisha Brown hit a pair of free throws with less than four minutes remaining in the first half to become just the 17th player in Northern Colorado history to score 1,000 points in her career. She ends her standout career with 1,003 points and 207 three-pointers – not only the school record – but the seventh-best total in Big Sky Conference history.

Northern Colorado's 23 steals break the previous mark of 17 from the season opener at Bradley, Jan. 31, 2009 and against Johnson & Wales on Dec. 28, 2008.

Strange also grabbed five rebounds and broke the school's Division I record for single-season boards with 283. She passes Danielle Hagen (2007-08) who grabbed 281 in her senior season.

Colorado was led in scoring by Brittan Wilaon and Lexy Kresl with 10 points each, while Chucky Jeffery had eight rebounds. The Buffaloes out-rebounded the Bears 41-28.

Oosdyke scored the first basket of the game for the Bears, but Colorado scored the next 11 for the 11-2 lead with 13:07 to play. Amy Marin found an open Kim Lockridge under the bucket to snap the streak.

After a pair of free throws by Rachel Hargis for CU, Marin had back-to-back steals and one was a perfect feed to Brown for a fast-break layup. Marin again found Brown at the 10:01 mark to make the score 15-8. Oosdyke recorded a pair of steals and after Duehn recorded an offensive rebound, she nailed a three-pointer with 8:18 on the clock to cut the deficit to four, 15-11.

At the 3:47 mark of the first half, Brown scored the 1,000th point of her career on the first free throw and didn't even move the net on the second shot to again cut the lead to four, 17-13.

With 2:52 left in the half, Strange found Oosdyke all alone under the basket, she was fouled, made the free throw and cut the score to 19-16. With less than a second to play, Lexy Kresl pumped fake, stepped back and nailed a three-pointer to give the Buffaloes a six-point lead at halftime, 24-18.

Colorado scored the first eight points of the second half to push its lead to 32-18, the largest lead of the game for either team at 14 points at 18:32. Timm had her second steal of the game which led to a three-pointer by Oosdyke and give the Bears their first points of the second stanza.

After a CU jumper, Timm hit her first three-pointer of the game to cut the lead back to 10, 34-24 but the Buffs scored the next seven for a 42-24 lead with 13:29 to play.

Timm hit another jumper at the 9:24 mark for the 42-26 score and after CU hit one free throw, Strange knocked down a pair and Lockridge made one for the 43-29 tally. Ashley Wilson hit a pair of free throws for the Buffaloes and then Oosdyke scored five straight with a huge three-pointer and two charity stripe shots to cut the lead to 11, 45-34.

The two teams traded baskets over the next few minutes, but the Bears could close no closer than 10, and dropped their season finale, 54-42. Colorado waits for the winner of the South Dakota vs Drake contest to see who it faces in the Second Round of the WNIT.