Women’s Basketball Defeated at Utah Valley, 73-56
OREM, Utah – Utah Valley shot 57% in the first half in building a 16-point halftime lead, and NAU shot just 36% and went 1-13 from three-point range for the game to drop a 73-56 decision at Utah Valley on Saturday in Orem, Utah. The Lumberjacks, who defeated Utah Valley 73-59 in Flagstaff on Nov. 23, dropped to 0-5 on the road and 5-6 overall while the Wolverines improved to 5-4 on the season.
"We are really just two different teams from what we do at home and what we do on the road, and that's going to be a huge problem for us heading into conference play if that doesn't change," said NAU head coach Laurie Kelly. "The things we do well at home we aren't doing on the road. I didn't think we had a lot of energy in the first half and we came out slow. We made some defensive adjustments at halftime and cut the deficit to six, but we missed some easy shots and just didn't seem to be mentally focused in the game."
The teams played close to open the contest, with the score knotted at 18-18 after a three-point make by NAU junior Paige Haynes at the 11:55 mark. The Lumberjacks trailed by only two points with just over nine minutes remaining in the opening half, but from there Utah Valley caught fire. A 10-2 Wolverine run over the ensuing two and a half minutes put the home team up by 10 at 32-22, and Utah Valley still led by 10 with four minutes to go before ending the half on a 12-6 run to open up a 48-32 halftime lead.
NAU started the second half strong, opening on a 10-0 run the cut the deficit to just six points at 48-42. That would be as close as the Lumberjacks would get, however, as Utah Valley was able to build its lead back up to 10 with an ensuing 4-0 run. NAU put the clamps down defensively but was unable to score itself, as only one total point, a free throw by NAU senior Caty Huntington, was scored over a five and a half minute stretch midway through the second half.
Despite going scoreless for nearly six minutes, Utah Valley was able to extend its lead to a game-high 18 points at 67-49 with 5:45 to play. A pair of free throws by NAU sophomore Amanda Frost cut the deficit to 15 points with 3:09 to play, but NAU did not score for the remainder of the contest and neither team scored for the final 2:22 of the game as the Wolverines held on for a 73-59 win.
Junior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins was the only Lumberjack to finish in double-figures, totaling 11 points in the contest, while five different Wolverines finished with double-digit scoring totals. Sophomore Shay May finished with six points and a team-high eight rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass, while sophomore Khyra Conerly totaled nine points. Huntington totaled five points, six assists, five steals, and three rebounds, but was just 1-8 from the field, while junior Amy Patton totaled four points and six rebounds while taking only four shots, the fewest shot attempts in a game in her career.
After making 12 three-pointers in 28 attempts against Nebraska last Saturday, Haynes made the only Lumberjack three in 13 team attempts vs Utah Valley while the home team 6 for 9 from long range. Utah Valley made 21 of 30 free throws while NAU went 9-19 from the charity stripe, and the Wolverines had a 40-35 rebounds advantage. The Lumberjacks outrebounded the Wolverines 44-30 when the teams met in Flagstaff.
NAU concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule at noon Monday at Utah State, which dropped to 5-5 after losing at home to BYU, 73-65, on Saturday.