Northern Colorado women's basketball avenges previous loss to Montana State
Northern Colorado guard D'Shara Strange attempts to put a shot over Montana State's Rachel Semansky during their game on February 9 at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. The Bears won the game 62-51. Ben Stivers | The Mirror
The UNC women's basketball team kept itself in the running to host the Big Sky Conference Championship by defeating Montana State 62-51 at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion Saturday after losing to the team on the road earlier this season.
The University of Northern Colorado (13-9, 10-3 Big Sky) had 28 points in the paint, which contributed to the win, but it wasn't easy since the Bears had to fight off multiple rallies by Montana State (14-9, 8-6) to seal the deal.
UNC senior forward Lauren Oosdyke led the game in scoring with 19 points, with eight of them coming from the charity stripe in 10 attempts.
Oosdyke said physical games are the ones that can make or break a player.
"I love these games," Oosdkye said. "I'm a very physical player myself, so I play better under those circumstances. It makes me focus more on my shot and shots underneath the basket and holding your ground and powering up and getting the basket."
Oosdyke attributed the team's success to efforts on both sides of the court, making sure to keep the Bobcats on their toes.
"We really read the defense well when they either switched off on us and who they had on us," Oosdyke said. "Driving to the basket and ball-faking and really out-muscling them, I thought we did a good job on tonight."
The Bears made 25-of-44 free throws due to 27 fouls by the Bobcats.
"Anytime we play two games in a row like this - physical with a lot of pressure on the ball - (many fouls are) going to happen," UNC head coach Jaime White said, making reference to UNC's 54-41 win Thursday against Montana. "That's just something you've got to know that teams - when they can't stop you they're going to foul you - and we've just got to step up and knock those down."
Sophomore forward Stephanie Lee had seven blocks to go along with seven points and six rebounds.
Junior guard D'shara Strange had 18 points and nine rebounds. Like Oosdyke, a majority of Strange's points were from the free throw line, where she shot 10-for-17. She shot 4-for-10 from the field.
Just five 3-pointers were made in the game, and three of them came from Northern Colorado starters. Sophomore forward Lindsay Mallon, Oosdyke and senior guard Victoria Timm all had one 3-pointer.
Though Strange came close, Bobcats senior forward Rachel Semansky recorded the game's only double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The only statistical category Montana State won was rebounding, with the Bobcats coming down with 42 boards, compared to UNC's 37.
Strange said the team is glad to play well when it counts most: against quality conference opponents.
"There are good teams, and we know we had to take advantage of that," Strange said. "We haven't lost a game yet - knock on wood - but we have to take advantage when we have home court advantage. Both Montana and Montana State are good teams, and we knew we had to beat them when they got down here."
The Bears take to the road with a game at 6:35 p.m. Thursday at Northern Arizona (6-16, 5-8).
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