Champions has a nice ring to it. Whether it’s listening to Queen’s 1977 hit “We are the Champions,” or the title next to the team hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. It’s written next to the Alabama Crimson Tide as the National Champions in 2018 and it’s once again written at Northern Colorado.
After a 63-60 victory over Portland State University on Wednesday, UNC women’s basketball made history winning its first ever Big Sky regular season title. The win also gives the Bears the number one seed in next week’s Big Sky tournament in Reno, Nevada.
The Bears played a strong season last year to finish in third place in the conference, but they were hungry for more. All season the Bears had their sights set on the title.
“The title has been in reach and right in front of us all year long,” coach Kamie Ethridge said. “We have had the target on our backs all year long and it just feels nice to win it.”
Ethridge began coaching at UNC in 2014 after spending 18 seasons as associate head coach at Kansas State. The Wildcats made it to nine NCAA tournaments, four WNIT tournaments, and won two Big 12 Championship titles. Ethridge made the Wildcats competitive and saw the same fire in the Bears when she made the move to Greeley.
“This is a program that has tremendous potential for achieving academic and athletic success in the Big Sky Conference,” Ethridge said in her introductory press conference in 2014.
That potential has been unleashed this season under Ethridge. The Bears finished the season with an overall record of 23-6 and a conference record of 15-3. Seniors Savannah Scott and Kianna Williams leave the program as the winningest class in program history with a 80-41 record.
Big Sky champions is a title to relish in, but the Bears aren’t done yet. As the top seed in the Big Sky tournament, the Bears will play the winner of tournament game one on Wednesday night.
“That’s not the only net we want to take down,” Scott said. “we want to cut down the net in Reno as well.”