Women’s Basketball Forces Nebraska to Double OT, Falls 97-88
Photo Courtesy Preston Trauscht
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Sophomore Amanda Frost scored a career-high 24 points and the NAU women's basketball team forced Big 10 power Nebraska to double overtime, just the second double overtime game in NAU program history, before dropping a 97-88 decision on Saturday afternoon in Rolle Activity Center. NAU lost for the first time at home this season, moving to 5-5 overall, while Nebraska, which has defeated two ranked teams this season, improved to 9-1.
"I'm just so proud of my team," said NAU head coach Laurie Kelly. "We came out a little sluggish but I thought we battled back great. Our defensive pressure did a great job in forcing 27 turnovers. We needed to make a play, we were able to do that. We had two shots to win it at the end of regulation and the first overtime, but couldn't get either one to go."
"You have to give them credit," added Kelly. "I told the team 'to get that excited, to have that great a crowd, to taste that - it feels even better when you're playing for an NCAA tournament spot.' Hopefully that excitement and our ability to compete at that elite level will get us going to start Big Sky play."
The Cornhuskers, who are the second team receiving votes in the AP top-25 poll, opened strong in the first half, limiting NAU's offensive looks and shooting well from the field to build a game-high 13 point lead at 26-13 with just under nine minutes remaining in the opening period. Nebraska had a 10 point lead with 5:29 remaining in the half, but NAU closed on a 9-4 run, including a 7-0 run to end the half, to trail just 33-28 at the intermission.
After shooting just 29% in the first half, the Lumberjacks came out strong after the break and shot 50% in the second stanza. The Lumberjacks pulled even at 35-35 at the 17:21 mark after a three by Frost, then took their first lead of the game less than 30 seconds later on another three-point strike by Frost to take a 38-37 lead.
Nebraska would regain the lead, opening up an eight point advantage with just under 11 minutes to play. NAU caught fire from there, cutting the lead to five at 54-49 before going on a 7-0 run, capped by a layup from junior Amy Patton, to take a 56-54 lead and force a Nebraska timeout. The Lumberjacks had a game-high four point lead at 62-58 with 4:27 to play, and held a three point lead at 70-67 with 33 seconds to play. Nebraska sophomore Jordan Hooper, who would finish with a game-high 32 points, drained a three with 24 seconds to play to tie the game, and a last second shot from Patton wouldn't go to send the game to overtime.
Neither team led by more than three points in the first overtime session, with NAU taking a two point lead with 1:01 to play after a three-point strike from junior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins. Nebraska junior guard Lindsay Moore, who totaled 31 points and nine assists in the contest, would draw a foul with 20 seconds remaining and hit one of two free throws to knot the game at 84-84 with 20 seconds to play. Patton had another chance to win it but came up short on a jumper to force a second overtime.
Moore and Hooper would hit consecutive threes to start the second OT and give the Huskers a six point advantage. NAU trailed just 92-88 with 2:53 to go, but Moore made three free throws and Nebraska added a layup to take a 97-88 lead with 1:12 to go. Neither team would score for the remainder of the contest as Nebraska hung on for the win.
The game was just the second in NAU team history to go to double overtime, with the only other double OT game coming in 2005 at home against Eastern Washington, an 82-78 loss. NAU finished at 39% shooting while Nebraska shot 46% for the contest and had a 51-43 advantage in rebounds, though NAU grabbed 21 offensive rebounds. The Lumberjacks forced 27 Nebraska turnovers while committing only 23 of their own. NAU made 12 three-pointers in the contest while Nebraska hit 10 shots from long range, and the Lumberjack bench totaled 47 points. The game had 13 ties and 14 lead changes.
Frost made six of nine shots from three-point range, surpassing her previous career high of 18 points while adding three assists and three steals in 31 minutes. She was one of five Lumberjacks in double-figures in scoring, with Patton finishing with 12, sophomores Khyra Conerly and Trinidee Trice totaling 11 points apiece, and junior Aubrey Davis scoring 10 while adding 11 rebounds for her second-consecutive double-double. Hooper and Moore were the only Cornhuskers in double-figures, combining for 63 points on 21-32 shooting.
"When I hit that first three, the adrenaline just started going," said Frost, who made six of her first-seven shots from behind the arc. "I hit a few more and started feeling like we really had this game. We started working as a team and everybody was knocking down shots in the second half but we just came up a little short. We know that if we can force a top team to two overtimes we should be great in the Big Sky."
NAU closes its non-conference schedule with a pair of games in Utah, first playing at Utah Valley next Saturday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m.