Team Effort Leads Women’s Basketball Past Weber State, 71-58
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Eleven different NAU players scored and 10 players grabbed at least one rebound as the Lumberjacks used a strong defensive second half and balanced scoring to get by Weber State, 71-58, on Thursday night in Rolle Activity Center. NAU earned its first conference win of the season and ended a nine-game losing streak, improving to 1-6 in the Big Sky and 6-13 overall, while Weber State dropped to 2-17 overall and 0-6 in conference play.
"We really needed to focus on effort and playing at a more intense level of play, and to play people short spurts allowed them get a quick breather and keep everyone fresh," said NAU head coach Laurie Kelly. "We played 11 people and nobody played more than 27 minutes, and we were able to wear down Weber State in the second half. Tonight we stayed focused, got stops when we needed to, and made free throws down the stretch, and it was a great team win for us."
All eleven Lumberjacks that played scored at least one point, with senior Caty Huntington leading the way with 11 points and junior Amy Patton and sophomore Amanda Frost each finishing with 10. Ten of the eleven players recorded at least one rebound, with sophomore Shay May leading the way with 10 boards, and eight players had at least one assist, led by four assists from Frost.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team gaining a significant advantage. NAU took a 23-18 lead midway through the opening period, but Weber State used an 11-0 run over three and a half minutes to open a 29-23 lead with 5:43 remaining in the opening half. NAU rallied back to even the score at 29 with 3:58 to go, and a last-second layup from freshman Jasmine Sneed gave the Lumberjacks a two-point halftime advantage at 38-36.
NAU opened the second half on a 6-0 run to build a 44-36 advantage, and after the Wildcats cut the Lumberjack lead to 44-42 with a 6-0 spurt of their own, NAU responded to build its lead up to 10 points at 58-48 with 9:24 remaining in the contest. Weber State never got closer than six points for the remainder of the game, with the Lumberjacks making 8-of-8 free throws in the final 2:08 to pull away for a 71-58 final.
Northern Arizona posted a 42-37 rebounding edge, including 17 offensive rebounds, and scored 19 points off 15 Weber State turnovers while limiting the Wildcats to just 22 points in the second half. The Lumberjacks came into the game ranked 25th in the nation in averaging 12.0 steals per game and totaled 14 takeaways on Thursday, led by four steals apiece from Huntington and sophomore Khyra Conerly. Weber State shot just 3-of-15 from three-point range and made 7-of-12 free throws while NAU connected on six three-pointers and went 13-of-17 from the charity stripe.
The Lumberjacks return to action on Saturday when they will host Big Sky-leading Idaho State at 3:05 p.m. in Rolle Activity Center.