Women’s Basketball to Host Adams State, Travel to Midwest
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Fresh off a home win over UC Riverside, the NAU women's basketball team (1-1) will play its third game in five days on Monday against Adams State (1-0) at 6:35 p.m. in Rolle Activity Center before heading to the Midwest for games on Friday at South Dakota (0-0) and Sunday at Iowa State (1-0). Tuesday's game is Military Appreciation Night, with a buy one-get one ticket offer for any military member with valid ID. The game will be televised on Fox College Sports Pacific and NAU-TV with a radio broadcast on 105.1 FM The Big Talker.
After falling behind by 24 points at halftime against Colorado in its season opener, NAU played the Buffaloes even in the second half and outrebounded them 34-28 for the game, including 12 offensive boards, and followed with the win over UC Riverside. Through two games, NAU leads the Big Sky in 3-pointers made (8.0 per game) and is second in 3-point percentage (.364) and rebounding margin (+ 4.5). The Lumberjacks have played just four games all-time against their three opponents this week and haven't played Adams State or Iowa State during this millennium.
Sunday's win over the Highlanders was the first time since 2008 that the Lumberjacks won either of their first two regular season games, but was NAU's third straight win in its home opener. NAU limited UC Riverside, which has played in the national postseason in five of the last-six seasons, to 25% shooting from the field in the opening half while starting strong with a .423 first-half field goal percentage. The Lumberjacks have outrebounded each of their first-two opponents by an average of 4.5 boards per game after posting a -5.5 rebounding margin last season.
NAU's 2010-11 leader in scoring, 3-pointers made, free throws made and percent, rebounds, steal s and minutes played, Amy Patton, returned to her starring role to begin her junior season, averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebound through two games. Patton posted her first double-double of the year against UC Riverside on Sunday, totaling 24 points and 13 rebounds while going 4-7 from 3-point range. Patton became the first player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points in just two seasons and is on pace to shatter the NAU career scoring record of 1,678 points set by Alyssa Wahl.
Patton currently stands at 1,055 career points, having surpassed Tanja Brungard (1,037), Jenny Shayani (1,039) and Megan Porter (1,042) just with her scoring last weekend to move to ninth on the all-time list. If Patton maintains her season scoring average of 19.5 points per game this week, she would move into fifth place on the all-time list by then end of the week.
Sophomore transfer Amanda Frost, who originally attended Hampton University and played last year at Fullerton Community College in Southern California, has displayed her lethal touch from long range early in her NAU career. Frost his five three-pointers in her NAU regular season debut at Colorado, leading the Lumberjacks with 18 points in that contest. She followed with a pair of threes against UC Riverside, and begins the week tied with teammate Amy Patton for the Big Sky lead with seven three-pointers. She has shot 7-17 (41%) from long range thus far, while also adding a team-high four steals in two games played.
Adams State, a Division-II school located in Alamosa, Colo., opened its season on Sunday with a 104-79 win at Oklahoma Panhandle State. Six different Grizzly players scored in double figures to propel the team over the century mark, with junior Deanna Reich leading the way with 16 points and senior Chloe Cable totaling 14 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
The Grizzlies went 24-10 last year and reached the sweet 16 of the Division-II tournament, but lost all five of its starters following the season. Northern Arizona and Adams State have had just one all-time meeting, a 79-53 Grizzlies win in Colorado in 1982.
South Dakota will not open its season until they host the Lumberjacks on Friday and did not even play any exhibition games. The Coyotes return all five starters from their team that went 20-12 overall and 10-2 last season in the Great West Conference (the school is now a member of the Summit League). South Dakota earned a bid to the Women's Basketball Invitational tournament last season and defeated Idaho in the opening round for its first Division-I postseason win. Among the Coyotes' 20 wins last season was 69-57 triumph at NAU on Dec. 9. Last year's meeting was the first between the two programs.
Iowa State is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, the only NAU opponent this season to appear in the national rankings. The Cyclones blasted Houston Baptist, 73-33, in their season opener on Friday, limiting their opponent to 22% shooting for the contest. The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 10,100 fans, while the Cyclones averaged 9,370 fans per game in 17 home dates last season (NAU had 5,229 total fans in attendance in 16 home games last year). NAU is 1-1 all-time against Iowa State, with the Lumberjacks scoring a 61-50 win in Flagstaff in 1997. The only previous time that NAU played in Ames was an 80-63 Cyclone win in 1994.