Women's Basketball Scores Biggest Win In Program History
Nov. 23, 2005
GREELEY, Colo. - In what could be termed the biggest win in program history, the University of Northern Colorado women's basketball team upset the University of Illinois Fighting Illini 65-55 on Wednesday night at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
In their first-ever game against a team from the Big Ten Conference, Northern Colorado (2-1) knocked down 15 3-pointers on its way to an upset. The Bears hit 8-of-16 3-pointers in the first half in building a 31-21 halftime advantage.
Illinois (1-1) struggled from the field all night, hitting only 34.5 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
Cindy McCarroll matched her career-high for Northern Colorado with 14 points, hitting a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range including a bank shot trifecta from the corner.
In the first half, the Illini jumped out to a 6-0 run. But the Bears soon clawed back and went on a 11-0 run. After that, Northern Colorado never trailed. Illinois got as close as 17-14 with 8:47 left in the first half, but the Bears went on a 12-4 run to take a 29-18 lead. Northern Colorado finished out the half with a 31-21 lead. The Bears held the Illini to just 27 percent shooting (7-of-29) in the half, which included a 1-for-7 mark from 3-point range.
Illinois (1-1) struck the first blow in the second half, but Northern Colorado stuck to its gameplan. McCarroll drained a trifecta to extend the Bears' lead to 34-23 with 18:12 left to play. The Bears continued to put the pressure on as they went on an 8-2 run to take a 42-25 lead, which was their largest lead of the contest. Northern Colorado led by 17 (63-46) again with 2:13 remaining when Illinois desperately tried to get back into the game with a 7-0 run to cut the Bears' lead to 63-53. But that was the closest the Illini could get as the Bears closed out their triumph.
Junior Heather Barbour contributed to the Bears' win with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Freshman Jabrenta Hubbard led Northern Colorado's defensive clinic with five steals. Northern Colorado finished 41.5 percent from the field, which included 15-for-32 (46 percent) from beyond the arc.
Janelle Hughes led Illinois with 18 points.
"This win was momentous for our program," Northern Colorado head coach Ron Vlasin said. "I haven't had a lot of time to think about it. We thought we had a shot coming in but we didn't know if it was just a pipe-dream. I told the girls that it would be a lifetime memory if we won and they played sensationally."
Northern Colorado will try to build on its landmark victory at 5 p.m. MT on Friday when it faces off with the Big East's Marquette Golden Eagles at the Wingate Classic in Bozeman, Mont. The Bears will then play either Boise State or Montana State at 5 or 7 p.m. MT on Saturday. The games will be broadcast live on The Bears Radio Network and can be accessed for free on UNCBears.com.