Women’s Basketball Drops Big Sky Home Opener to Portland State
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – NAU shot 53% in the second half and outscored Portland State 49-39 in the final period, but the Vikings built a 20-point halftime lead and withstood a late Lumberjack rally to earn an 84-74 win. The Lumberjacks dropped to 0-3 in the Big Sky and 5-10 overall while the Vikings, who were picked to win the conference in both preseason polls, moved to 1-1 in league play and 9-5 overall.
"The way we played in the first half is the way we've been on the road," said head coach Laurie Kelly. "We didn't have a lot of energy or intensity in the first half, and that's really been our challenge on the road; it seemed like since we haven't been home in a long time, we showed up like the team that's been on the road. I credit the team for playing hard in the second half and forcing some turnovers, but when it came down to needing stops defensively we had too many breakdowns."
The Lumberjacks were held to 26% shooting in the first half while Portland State shot 65% and held a 21-16 rebounding edge. The game started out close, with the teams tied at 12 at the 14:22 mark before NAU went scoreless for more than six minutes and the Vikings went on an 11-0 run. NAU got back within six points at 25-19 after a three-point make from sophomore Trinidee Trice with 5:57 remaining in the period, but Portland State would score 20 points in the final 5:37 of the half, outscoring NAU 20-6 during that stretch, to take a 45-25 halftime lead.
NAU began to chip away at its deficit early in the second stanza, opening the half on a 10-5 run to bring the score to 50-35 with 15:45 to play. The Lumberjacks could not get the deficit to less than 15 points, however, until a layup by junior Aubrey Davis made the score 61-47 at the 9:49 mark. Portland State got its lead back up to 17 with 6:44 remaining, but an ensuing 8-0 Lumberjack run brought the home team within nine points at 70-61. NAU would trail by just eight points with 1:50 to play, but Portland State closed the game going 6-of-6 from the free throw line and adding a layup to finish the 10-point win.
The Vikings shot 55% for the game, including 50% three-point shooting and 81% shooting from the line. The Lumberjacks finished at 39% for the game and went 12-14 from the charity stripe for 85%, the best free-throw percentage for the team this season. NAU tied a season high with 18 steals while committing just 12 turnovers and forcing 21 Viking giveaways.
Davis went 7-of-9 from the field for 15 points while adding four rebounds, while Trice also finished with 15 points and four boards. Junior Amy Patton totaled 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals, while freshman Erikka Banks also reached double-figures in scoring with 10 points off the bench. Portland State sophomore Kate Lanz led all players with 29 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lumberjacks will look to rebound on Saturday when they will host Eastern Washington at 6:35 p.m. in Rolle Activity Center. The Eagles improved to 8-8 overall and 2-1 in the Big Sky with a 72-60 win Thursday night at Weber State.