Falcon Women’s Hoops Fly by Northern Colorado, 69-57

By  | 

USAF Academy, Colo. Air Force snapped an eight-game Northern Colorado losing streak, defeating the Bears, 69-57, in Clune Arena, Wednesday evening. The win marks the Air Force's first over UNC since 2008. The Falcons improve to 4-3 on the season, snapping Northern Colorado's three-game win streak and knocking them down to 3-3.

Freshman front-runner Briana Autrey led the Falcons with a 20-point performance while also adding four steals and two assists to her stat sheet. Autrey has three double-digit scoring performances this season and averages 12.9 points per game. She hit a game-high seven free throws.

Sophomore leaders Kaelin Immel and Emily Conroe put up 15 points apiece. Conroe recorded her first double-double of the season collecting 11 rebounds in conjunction with a solid scoring performance. She shot 5-6 from the free throw line and has four double-digit scoring performances this season. Immel maintains the highest scoring average on the team (13.8), following her fourth double-digit scoring performance. Immel was two boards short of her first double-double of the season.

Junior forward Kassady Huffman dropped 12 points and wrangled in seven rebounds and two assists. She has four double-digit scoring performances and two double-doubles on the season.

Four Falcons have scored double-digit points in four-of-seven games this season, testament to Air Force's ability to spread the offense. Air Force underclassmen combined for 57 points on the game.

- Four Falcons posted double-digit scoring marks; Autrey (20), Conroe (15), Immel (15) and Huffman (12)
- Air Force shot 5-5 from the free throw line in the first quarter and 71.0 percent on the game
- Conroe notched a season-high 11 rebounds on the game for her first double-double this season
- Huffman hit a season-high six free throws, going 6-8 on the night
- Air Force had zero turnovers in the third quarter and only three in the second half
- UNC's leading scorer Savannah Smith, who averages 17.6 points per game, left the game due to injury in the first quarter. She did not return.

Quarter-by-Quarter Breakdown
First Quarter: Air Force 16, Northern Colorado 9
Starters: Venessannah Itugbu, Riley Snyder, Alexis Springfield, Kaelin Immel, Kassady Huffman
- Autrey jump started the Falcons' offense, getting a quick bucket followed with a three-pointer moments after taking the floor. She went 4-4 from the field and 1-1 at the free throw line for 10 points on the quarter. She also registered two steals and two defensive boards
- Air Force outrebounded UNC, 12-10
- UNC leading scorer Savannah Smith went out with 4:16 remaining in the quarter with a superficial injury. She did not return to the game
- UNC had nine turnovers with six coming in the final five minutes of the quarter

Second Quarter: Air Force 24, Northern Colorado 21
- Air Force's worst shooting occurred in the second quarter (4-15)
- The Falcons had six turnovers but still managed to score their largest lead of the half 4:20 (9 points)
- Air Force went on a three-minute scoring drought
- Air Force was 1-9 (11.1) in first half three-pointers and 9-32 (28.1) first half field goals

Third Quarter: Air Force 46, Northern Colorado 41
- Conroe opens the quarter 2-2 from down range in first three minutes of the quarter
- Immel hits her first three then adds another bucket to help keep Air Force in control of the game
- Air Force knocked down three three-pointers in the third quarter
- UNC tried to battle back, going 5-6 while holding Air Force scoreless for over two minutes
- Air Force had zero turnovers in the third quarter

Fourth Quarter: Air Force 69, Northern Colorado 57
- Air Force starting opening up, winning rebounds and only committing three turnovers in the quarter
- Conroe wrangled in a season-high 11 boards
- Air Force shot 14-20 (70.0%) in fourth-quarter free throws
- Air Force's largest lead was a 13-point margin with 1:16 remaining in the game

"The good news is that we won and I didn't think we played good as good we can," said head coach Chris Gobrecht. "They lost a good player early on and that was a big adjustment for them to make and I thought we did the things we had to do to get the win. Briana Autrey just lit the spark, it was huge, and then Emily Conroe's three-pointers came early in the second half and Kaelin Immel started knocking down shots too, it was big for us."

"I felt that we did a good job at keeping control of the game from start to finish," continued Gobrecht. "At times we would let them get their spurts and that's the sign of a young team, having those dead spots and allowing the other team a chance to get back in it, but we never lost control. We've got to work on getting those dead spots out of our game, particularly defensively.

"I like our pressure but I think we need to do better at the post," said Gobrecht. "We rebounded better in the second half. What they had going for them was size and we did a good job neutralizing that tonight. Overall, it's nice to have four wins and still be November."

The last time Air Force had four wins in November was in the 2010-11 season.

Next up, the Falcons will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to take on the 20th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers, Sun., Dec. 2, with a tip-off slated for 3:00 p.m. CT. Sunday's game will mark the third meeting between the programs.