Womens Basketball Set to Host Portland State in Walkup Skydome
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern
Arizona women’s basketball will finish this weekend’s
slate of games with a matchup Saturday against Portland State in
the Walkup Skydome at 6:35 p.m. The Lumberjacks were defeated on
Thursday 66-52 by Eastern Washington in the Skydome.
NAU (3-14, 1-3 BSC) dropped its first two Big Sky Conference games to open leauge play, but responded with a 63-62 win at Weber State on January 9. Freshman guard Amy Patton hit a buzz-beating shot to give the Lumberjacks their first conference win of the 2009-10 season.
NAU will play Portland State (9-8, 3-1 BSC) who was tied for the conference lead prior to a 72-68 loss at Northern Colorado on Thursday. The Lumberjacks are 3-3 at home against Portland State under Head Coach Laurie Kelly.
Saturday’s game against Portland State will offer free admission to youth basketball players. Any youth player who wears his or her jersey to the game will be granted free admission. Also, St. Mary’s Elementary School will receive free general admission tickets. Contact NAU Athletics at 928-523-5353 with questions.
LAST GAME: EASTERN WASHINGTON
Northern Arizona women's basketball lost in its Big Sky Conference home opener 66-52 against Eastern Washington on Thursday night in the Walkup Skydome. The Lumberjacks were playing their first game in the Walkup Skydome after playing its first three home games at the Rolle Activity Center. The Eagles opened up a nine-point halftime lead as the Lumberjacks went scoreless in those final five minutes. Eastern Washington was able to push its lead to double digits early in the second half and held it for the remainder of the game preventing the Lumberjacks from mounting any kind of comeback. NAU received a boost from its reserves with Tiffany Amos turning in a team-high 13 points and Tyler Stephens-Jenkins chipping in 11 points. Thursday's game marked the first time this year that no player in the Lumberjack's starting lineup reached double figures. The Eagles outshot NAU 44.3-percent to 32.8-percent for the game.
UPCOMING GAME: PORTLAND STATE
Through two weeks of Big Sky Conference play, Portland State is 3-1 in league play with a 9-8 record overall. The Vikings had back-to-back home games against Montana State and Montana and responded with two close wins. Portland State beat the Bobcats 69-62 and the Grizzlies 49-47. The Vikings lost this past Thursday in a close game at Northern Colorado 72-68. Portland State's average margin of victory in its three Big Sky wins is six points. The Eagles are 7-2 at home this season but just 2-4 on the road. Portland State is led by third-year head coach Sherri Murrell who took over the program in 2007. The Vikings' Claire Faucher and Kelly Marchant average double figures with 15 and 12.5 points-per-game, respectively. So far this year, Portland State is averaging 67.8 points-per-game while its opponents average 67.2 points-per-game.
NAU’s Universityhouse Channel will carry a live broadcast of Portland State versus NAU on Saturday with Jordan Byrd handling play-by-play duties and Sharon Falor doing color commentary. It will be a national broadcast found on Dish Network channel 9411. A live webcast will also be available through www.bigskytv.org and live stats can be found on www.nauathletics.com. The game can be heard on AM 930 KAFF with play-by-play from Andrew Tomsky as well.
The Lumberjacks are 18-11 all-time against the Vikings in a series that dates back to 1985; however, NAU is actually 11-3 at home facing Portland State. In their last meeting, the Lumberjacks lost to Portland State in Flagstaff 69-57. Head coach Laurie Kelly is 7-6 in her seven-plus years at NAU against the Vikings.
NAU received its first Big Sky Conference weekly award with Amy Patton being selected Co-Player of the Week. The honor was the first of Patton's career in a weekend where she exploded for 61 points (30.5 ppg) and 21 rebounds (10.5 rpg). The freshman guard from Tempe, Ariz., shared the award with Sacramento State's Charday Hunt.
NAU played on Friday and Saturday last week turning in a 1-1 record. The Lumberjacks were forced to play at Pocatello, Idaho, a 67-60 loss to Idaho State, then traveled to Ogden, Utah, and played less than 24 hours later. Pocatello and Ogden are separated by 133 miles, which is about two and a half hours by bus. NAU responded with a come from behind last second win over Weber State (63-62) as Amy Patton hit a buzzer beating shot.
In the Lumberjacks last 10 games, five have been decided by five points or less and seven of 17 so far this season have been decided by five points or less. NAU is 2-5 in games decided by that margin.
The Lumberjacks have used seven different starting lineups this fall with head coach Laurie Kelly looking for the right combination on a game-to-game basis. NAU has used three different starting lineups in its first four conference games.
After several lineup changes to open the season, NAU settled into a starting five of Vickie Toney, Caty Huntington, Amy Patton, Jenna Galloway and Lauren Hoisington using that lineup for four games after starting that five in the season opener. Kelly recently went back to this unit against Idaho State and Eastern Washington, and the group leads all combinations with seven starts together.
Freshman guard Amy Patton is first in the Big Sky Conference in double-doubles with six through 16 games played. Patton has two more recorded double-doubles than any other league player.
Jenna Galloway and Tyler Stephens-Jenkins are also among 21 players who have recorded double-doubles this season. Galloway put up 12 points and 10 rebounds against Siena on November 27 and Stephens-Jenkins put up 10 points and 12 rebounds against UNLV on December 29.
As of January 11, freshman guard Amy Patton leads the Big Sky Conference in double-doubles (6), rebounding (7.6), and 10 or more rebound performances (6). She leads freshman in scoring (17.6), rebounding and three-point percentage (.438). She is averaging 22.0 points-per-game in conference play, the most in the league.
Patton is tied for first in 30-point performances (2) and made three-point field goals per game (2.3). She is second in 20-point performances (5), and scoring (17.6). Patton is ranked No. 60 in NCAA Division I Women's Basketball in scoring (15.7 ppg) and No. 86 in made three-point field goals per game (2.3).
PATTON ON TOP
Freshman guard Amy Patton is currently first in the Big Sky Conference in rebounding (7.6 rebounds-per-game) and second in scoring (17.6 points-per-game) through Jan. 11. She ranks first among freshmen in both categories.
Patton has scored in double-figures in 14 of 16 games this year with 30 points against Idaho State on December 14 and followed the next day with a season-high 31 points on December 15 against Weber State. Her 31 points is the second highest total in the Big Sky this year. She has put up double-digits in rebounds six times, the most in the conference.
HOISINGTON COMING AROUND
Junior forward Lauren Hoisington has scored 13, 16, and 13 points in her last three games and is now sixth in the Big Sky Conference in field-goal percentage this year shooting 44.3-percent from the field as of Jan. 11 providing NAU with consistent scoring inside. She had a season-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field against UMKC earlier this year.
HUNTINGTON MOVING ON UP
Sophomore guard Caty Huntington broke into the top 30 in scoring at 28th in the Big Sky Conference with 8.3 points-per-game as of Jan. 11. She is tied with Portland State’s Eryn Jones in scoring. Huntington is second with 2.6 steals-per-game and sixth in free-throw percentage (77.6). The 2.6 steals-per-game places her No. 64 in the Division I women's basketball.
The Lumberjacks have shot over 40-percent in two of its four Big Sky games and have done so in two straight prior to snapping their streak against Eastern Washington. NAU has shot over 40-percent from the field in eight of its 17 games. The Lumberjacks season-high came against San Diego with NAU shooting 45.7-percent and picking up a 62-58 win.
GETTING IT DONE AT THE LINE
NAU women's basketball has shot 71.2-percent from the free-throw line on the 2009-10 season. The Lumberjacks are currently ranked 88th in NCAA Division I women's Basketball in that category as of Jan. 4.
DEFENDING THE PERIMETER
The Lumberjacks are ranked 46th in all of NCAA Division I Women's Basketball in three-point field goal defense. NAU is limiting opponents to 28.0-percent shooting from distance and the Lumberjacks rank third in the Big Sky Conference in the category.
The Lumberjacks will play their first five games away from Flagstaff with nine of their 13 non-conference games on the road. The challenging schedule includes matchups against Pepperdine (WAC), Ball State (MAC), New Mexico (Mountain West), Arkansas State (Sun Belt), UNLV (Mountain West), and Oregon State (Pac-10) at the NAU Thanksgiving Classic. Ball State received votes in the 2009 USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll.