Idaho State women beat N Colorado to take Big SkySunday, Mar 11, 2012
POCATELLO, Idaho (AP)—Chelsea Pickering and Ashleigh Vella scored 12 points each as Idaho State fought through shooting struggles to beat Northern Colorado 49-46 in the Big Sky Conference championship game on Saturday.
Idaho State (24-7) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and won the Big Sky tournament for the third time, first since 2007.
“The girls made it happen,” Idaho State Coach Seton Sobolewski said. “They found a way to push through.”
Victoria Timm led Northern Colorado (20-11) with 18 points, but Idaho State managed to hold standout Bears guard D’Shara Strange to six points on 2-of-15 shooting.
Vella made a layup with 2:00 left to give the Bengals a 45-43 lead. Neither team scored again until Pickering hit a couple of free throws with 21 seconds left to put Idaho State up by four.
Timm’s 3-pointer for the Bears with 13 seconds left cut the lead to one, but Kaela Oakes got free for a layup to seal the win for Idaho State.
Northern Colorado went on a 11-1 run during the final 7:12 of the first half to cut the Bengals’ lead to 22-21 at intermission.
“(He said) don’t get discouraged, just keep moving,” Pickering said. “Coach is really good at building up our confidence. I just kept the faith.”
Northern Colorado held the Bengals to one field goal and four points during the first 7:35 of the second half, and the Bears built up a six-point lead.
Idaho State’s Kara Jenkins hit a 3-pointer with 12:25 in the second half and the Bengals outscored Northern Colorado 23-14 for the remainder of the game.
“They have some great shooters. You really have to stay on them,” Sobolewski said, adding that the Bengals often sacrificed defending other players to double Strange. “There was no way we could do it one-on-one with her.”