Women’s Basketball Wins Classic with 72-56 Victory Over Kent State
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – NAU forced 31 Kent State turnovers and recorded 21 offensive rebounds, leading to 30 more field goal attempts for the Lumberjacks than the Golden Flashes, in cruising to a 72-56 win in the final game of the Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic. The Lumberjacks went 2-0 in the tournament to take the title and improve to 4-3 on the season while Kent State went 0-2 in Flagstaff and dropped to 1-4 overall.
Junior Amy Patton scored 14 points and added eight rebounds after posting a double-double against Utah Valley on Wednesday, earning MVP honors. Junior Aubrey Davis was also named to the All-Classic team, while Utah Valley's Sammie Jensen and Jenna Johnson and Kent State's Itziar Llobet rounded out the All-Classic team.
"We're really still trying to figure out who we are as a team, and getting to play all of the girls today helped give them a lot of experience," said NAU head coach Laurie Kelly. "We want to give visitors the feeling that coming to Rolle and playing at 7,000 feet will be a tough place to win. I hope we can play with the same mindset on the road and that we can understand what it takes to go into someone else's gym and win."
The Lumberjacks jumped on the Golden Flashes early, building an 11-2 lead on a three-point make by junior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins at the 15:05 mark of the opening half. NAU's advantage grew to 14 with a 24-10 lead, as the home team forced 18 first half turnovers and limited the visitors to just 30% shooting through the first 20 minutes. Up by 14 with just over two minutes left in the opening period, NAU went on a 9-3 run to close the half, capped by a layup by sophomore Shay May, to give the Lumberjacks a 39-19 halftime lead.
NAU maintained an advantage over 20 points through most of the second half, with the lead ballooning to 28 when junior Paige Haynes hit a three at the 12:16 mark to give the Lumberjacks a 56-28 lead. After trailing by 27, 65-38, with 6:11 remaining and with the outcome well in hand, Kent State closed the contest strong, outscoring the Lumberjacks 18-7 over the remainder of the contest to bring the final score to 72-56.
Patton was the only Lumberjacks to reach double-digits in scoring, with three of her five made field goals coming from three-point range. Her 14 points put her at 1,116 career points, surpassing Sade Cunningham for fifth place on NAU's all-time scoring list. Senior Caty Huntington and sophomore Amanda Frost each finished with nine points while both added two steals. Davis had a career-high four blocks in the game to go with six points, three rebounds and, one steal, and she averaged 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 62% over the two games to earn All-Classic honors.
Both teams shot near 38% for the game, but NAU made 12 more field goals and attempted 30 more shots than the Golden Flashes. The Lumberjacks posted a 41-35 advantage on the glass, with 21 offensive rebounds leading to 14 second chance points. Kent State out-shot NAU 47% to 34% in the second half and posted a 37-33 scoring advantage over the final 20 minutes.
The Lumberjacks will play at San Jose State next Thursday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. before returning home to host Cal State Fullerton next Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2:05 p.m. in Rolle Activity Center.