OMAHA, Neb. – Senior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins tied the NAU program record with eight three-pointers and the team equaled the program best with 12 three's and took Nebraska Omaha to double overtime before the Mavericks were able to complete a 79-75 win. NAU moved to 0-4 while Nebraska Omaha remained undefeated at 3-0.
Stephens-Jenkins scored a career-high 28 points and also added a career-high six assists, four steals, and 11 rebounds for a double-double. She shot 10-of-20 from the field and 8-of-16 from three-point range while she, senior Paige Haynes, and sophomore Jasmine Sneed all established a new program record by playing all 50 minutes in the contest. Senior Amy Patton added 18 points and nine boards and senior Aubrey Davis had 13 points and eight rebounds, including a three-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime
NAU trailed by 16 points at 40-24 a minute in to the second half before staging a comeback. NAU got to within 52-51 at the 8:32 mark following a 27-12 run over an 11 minute stretch and was down by one again at 54-53 with 6:48 to play. Omaha went back up by five with 4:30 to play but would not score another point through the end of regulation.
Haynes made a layup with 2:01 to play to bring NAU within three points at 58-55 and the teams traded missed shots before the Lumberjacks were forced to foul with nine seconds left. Omaha missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Lumberjacks pulled down the rebound and called timeout with two seconds remaining. Davis would get a three-pointer away just before the final buzzer sounded and banked in the triple to send the game to overtime.
The Mavericks opened the first OT with a pair of free throws before a three-point make by Stephens-Jenkins gave NAU its first lead of the game at 61-60. After an Omaha basket Sneed hit a three to put the Lumberjacks up 64-62 with 2:23 to play in what would be their biggest lead of the game. Omaha battled back to tie the game at 65 and went ahead 67-65 with 1:01 to play before Patton hit a jumper to tie the game back up at 67. Both teams missed late shots as the game went to a second OT.
Omaha scored the first six points of the second overtime to build a 73-67 lead. Three-point strikes by Haynes and Stephens-Jenkins sandwiched around an Omaha free throw brought NAU within a point at 74-73 with 2:54 to play before the home team got a pair of layups to fall to go back up 78-73. NAU's Raven Anderson made a layup to cut the deficit to 78-75 and an Omaha free throw made the lead 79-75 with 30 second to play. NAU could not convert a pair of shot attempts in the final seconds as the Mavericks held on for the win.
The game was the third NAU double-overtime game over the last two seasons after the program had played in double-ot just once in its 37 previous years of competition. Nebraska Omaha outshot NAU .467-.345 in the first half to take a 35-24 lead into the intermission before NAU shot 46.7% in the second half to stage its comeback. Omaha held a slim .437-.417 advantage in field goal percentage for the game and totaled just one more rebound than the Lumberjacks with two less turnovers. The Mavericks shot 19 free throws to just five for NAU but made just nine of 19 shots from the line.
The eight three point makes by Stephens-Jenkins tied the program record set by Marissa von Bromssen against Monmouth in 1996 while the team's 12 three-point hits tied the program record set last season against Nebraska and in two prior games. NAU's 32 three-point attempts in the game also established a new program record, surpassing the previous high of 28 three-point attempts totaled in three previous games.
NAU returns home to hosts its annual Thanksgiving tournament next Friday and Saturday, welcoming in Bradley, Tulane, and Western Michigan. NAU will face Western Michigan in the first game of the tournament on Friday at 2:05 p.m. before Bradley and Tulane meet at 4:05 p.m.