Women’s Basketball Back in Action Hosting Northern Colorado Monday
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Closing the 2011-12 season with a pair of home games next week, the NAU women's basketball team (8-19, 3-11 BSC) returns to the court for the first time in eight days at 6:35 p.m. Monday when it will host Northern Colorado (17-10, 9-5 BSC). The Bears are tied for third in the Big Sky standings, having clinched a conference championship berth, while the Lumberjacks were eliminated from postseason contention last week.
NAU last played a Big Sky game on Feb. 16, with the 11 days between regular season conference games the longest such break in a season in program history. The eight day break since its last overall contest, at CSU Bakersfield Feb. 19, was its second-longest layoff of the season. Monday will be Teacher Recognition Night in Rolle Activity Center, as professors nominated by NAU student-athlete will be recognized in a halftime ceremony.
The Lumberjacks are looking to reach double digit season victories and nine home wins for the second-consecutive season, equaling the most home wins since 2006-07. With a 7-5 record in home games this season, NAU has outscored its opposition by 6.5 points per game and outrebounded its competition by 6.8 boards per game on its home court. The Lumberjacks have shot 41.6% overall and 37.4% from three point range in Rolle Activity Center, while both junior Amy Patton and sophomore Amanda Frost have shot above 41% from three-point range in the 12 home contests. Patton is averaging 16.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game at home while shooting 45.5% from the field.
Sophomore Khyra Conerly has averaged 17.0 points and 5.0 rebounds, shooting 59.1% and adding seven steals, five assists, and two blocks in NAU's last two games vs Montana State and CSU Bakersfield. She scored a career-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and 8-of-11 shooting from the line on Feb. 19 at CSU Bakersfield while also tying career highs with five steals and two blocks and adding five rebounds in the game. Against Montana State, Conerly started the game a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, totaling 10 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and two steals. She has started 22 games this season and is tied for first on the team with 52 steals, is second with 63 assists, and is third with 7.5 points per game.
Northern Colorado scored a 77-71 win over the Lumberjacks when the teams first met in Greeley on New Year's Eve. NAU trailed by just a single possession with less than two minutes to play before the Bears closed out the win, with Patton leading the Lumberjacks with 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals in the contest. Northern Colorado sophomore D'Shara Strange totaled 29 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the game while shooting 10-for-16 from the field. She averages 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game to lead the team this season.
The Bears lead the Big Sky in field goal percentage (.418) and are third in field goal percentage defense (.356) while also committing a league-low 14.1 fouls per game. However, the Bears are last in the conference in points per game (59.7) and turnover margin (-2.8). Northern Colorado has won three consecutive games and five of its last-six games, including a 62-54 win at Weber State on Saturday. NAU is 3-12 all-time vs UNC and has lost the last-five meetings.
Monday's game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Arizona, Fox College Sports Pacific, and NAU-TV.