Air Force Holds On To Defeat Northern Colorado, 67-60, In Season Opener
USAFA, Colo. -- With six made free throws in the final 40 seconds of regulation, the Air Force women's basketball team was able to fight off a second-half rally by Northern Colorado to capture the 67-60 season-opening victory Friday night at Clune Arena. The Falcons start the season with a win for the first time in three years, while the Bears begin the year 0-1.
The contest was won primarily on the foul line, where Air Force made more shots (25-of-32) than Northern Colorado attempted (10-of-18). The Falcons also had a significant advantage on the boards, outrebounding the Bears 43-24, getting as many offensive rebounds (18) as Northern Colorado had on defense.
Air Force, which led by as many as 12 in the first half, took a 34-25 advantage into the locker room, despite committing 19 turnovers in the opening stanza. However, the Bears came out shooting to open the second half, cutting the Falcons' lead to a single point before the first media timeout.
The first tie of the game came with 12:56 on the clock when Northern Colorado's Heather Barbour knocked down a three-pointer to knot the score at 39-39. A 7-2 spurt by Air Force, capped off by a three-point play by sophomore Jamie Davis (Fresno, Calif.), gave the Falcons a 46-41 lead. However, the lead would continue to change hands, with the Bears eventually taking a 57-55 lead.
The Falcons then clamped down on defense, going on a run of their own which included a baseline jumper by sophomore Pamela Findlay (Glenview, Ill.) to take a 61-57 advantage with two minutes remaining. Smart play on both ends of the court led to a key offensive rebound by sophomore Alecia Steele (Oklahoma City, Okla.) in the final minute which set up a pair of critical free throws. The Falcons never looked back, helping seal the game at the charity stripe.
Steele led Air Force with 14 points and 11 rebounds, for her sixth career double-double, while also leading the team with a career-high three assists and four steals. Also scoring in double-digits for the Falcons was junior Jacki Novak (Kewaunee, Wis.), who scored 10 points in just 14 minutes of action.
For the Bears, freshman Jabrenta Hubbard notched a game-high 17 points, while Barbour and Danielle Hagen added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Falcons return to action next Wednesday, Nov. 23, when they travel to Orem, Utah, to face Utah Valley State in a 7:00 p.m. contest.