Northern Colorado Hangs On For 58-55 Win Over IPFW
The Bears improved to 11-15 on the season, while the Mastodons fell to 4-22 overall.
The Bears came out of the gates slow and saw the Mastodons open an early 7-3 advantage behind the scoring of Verea Bibbs. Bibbs scored the first four points of the game for the Mastodons in their first two possessions.
IPFW fought back and cut the Bears' lead to one at 15-14 on a three-pointer by Hilary O'Connell. However, the Bears would then reel off another 10-0 run highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers from freshman forward Kirsten Van Orden to give UNC a 25-14 lead with 4:52 remaining in the first half.
A bucket by IPFW's Molly Martin pulled the Mastodons to within eight points at 27-19, but that would prove to be the final points of the first half for IPFW.
IPFW refused to go away quietly and pulled to within three points at 49-46 with left in the game on a baseline jumper by Courtney Nicley.
Just as it looked like the Bears had control of the game, IPFW found the energy to turn it into a contest in the final three minutes of the game. IPFW went on a 9-1 run to cut the lead to one point at 56-55 with only remaining on a three-pointer from IPFW's Nicley.
The Bears tried to milk the clock in the final minute and IPFW bailed out the Bears by committing a foul with only one second on the shot clock with 32 seconds left in the game. IPFW then had to foul and put the Bears on the line to get the ball back in its hands. Sophomore guard Bailey Dillon calmly sank two free throws with 13.2 seconds left to give UNC a 58-55 lead.
IPFW missed a pair of desperation three-pointers in the final seconds and UNC closed out the 58-55 victory.
IPFW was led in scoring by O'Connell's 14 points. O'Connell went 5-of-17 from the floor, including 4-of-13 from beyond the arc. Bibbs and Nicley each reached double figures and scored 12 points a piece.
NOTES: This was the third meeting between the two teams this season after never having met on the court prior to this season ... Northern Colorado won the previous two matchups (77-48 in Greeley in Dec. 30 and 78-65 in Fort Wayne on Feb. 6) ... this was the Bears' first game on a neutral floor this season ... Northern Colorado won the battle of the boards, 42-32 ... the Bears committed 22 turnovers in the contest, while the Mastodons only turned the ball over 12 times.