Women’s Basketball Defeated by Eastern Washington, 74-56
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Junior Amy Patton scored a season-high 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting, but NAU was undone by 20 first half turnovers and hot shooting by Eastern Washington in the second half in a 74-56 loss on Saturday night in Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks dropped to 0-4 in the Big Sky and 5-11 overall with the Eagles improving to 9-8 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
"We are just not playing good fundamental basketball," NAU head coach Laurie Kelly said. "I was really happy to see Amy have a breakthrough game, but we need to play better team basketball as a whole. We got beat in transition the whole game and Eastern took advantage. We were that great fundamental team a month ago and I don't know where we lost that. We're searching for that NAU team that was so close to beating Nebraska and breakthrough to contend for a conference championship."
The game began well for the Lumberjacks, as they prevented the Eagles from getting clean looks and had a 13-11 lead with 8:56 to play in the first half. The game would turn from there, as Eastern Washington when on a 22-2 run over the ensuing seven and a half minutes, a stretch in which NAU committed nine turnovers and went 1-6 from the field. Down 33-15, the Lumberjacks closed the half with a basket by sophomore Trinidee Trice and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by sophomore Amanda Frost to go to the break down 35-20.
NAU opened the second half on a 9-4 run to get within 10 points at 39-29 at the 16:49 mark. The Lumberjacks would be doomed by another huge Eagle run, however, as the visitors scored 15 consecutive points over the next three and a half minutes to open up a 54-30 lead. The Eastern lead would swell to 30 points at 61-31 with 12:25 to play, maintaining an advantage of more than 20 points in to the final minutes before the final score settled at 74-56.
Patton completed her best shooting night of the season, going for 27 points (18 in the second half) while missing just one shot and going 3-3 from the three-point range. She also led the team with seven rebounds and three steals, and was the only Lumberjack in double figures, surpassing Mindy Sherred to move to third in NAU history in career scoring. Frost finished with eight points while junior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins totaled seven points, six rebounds, and a team-high four assists. The Eagles had four players in double figures and got a double-double of 10 points and 11 assists from senior Chene Cooper.
After tying a season worst with 20 first half turnovers, NAU would finish with 31 giveaways while forcing 18 Eagle turnovers. The Lumberjacks actually had a better first half field goal percentage than the Eagles (39% to 37%) but Eastern shot 59% in the second half to pull away. NAU held a 35-32 rebounding edge but was outscored 36-22 in the paint and 28-12 in points off turnovers.
The Lumberjacks are back on the road next week, playing first at Montana at 7p.m. Thursday before facing Montana State next Saturday.