FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – NAU shot 46.2% from the field and held Weber State to 31.7% shooting and senior Amy Patton recorded her fourth consecutive double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Lumberjacks to a 76-55 win on Thursday night in the Walkup Skydome. The Lumberjacks won for the third time in the last four games and had their largest margin of victory this season to hand Weber State its 35th consecutive loss.
"It's really important that we win at home and obviously we wanted to bounce back from the Portland State loss," NAU head coach Sue Darling said. "We've been getting better and better and it's not only about winning but playing well. We started a little bit ragged but then we got it together and I thought it was a quality effort from everybody."
Northern Arizona (4-11, 3-3 Big Sky) led by as many as 23 points in the contest and shot 50.0% in the second half to pull away for the easy win. In addition to their advantage in field goal percentage the Lumberjacks had a 43-36 edge in rebounding and forced 15 turnovers with 13 steals. Weber State (0-16, 0-7 BSC) was outscored 42-16 in the paint and had just four assists on its 19 made field goals.
Patton tied a season-high with her 12 rebounds and shot 11-of-22 en route to her seventh game this season with 20 or more points. Already NAU's all-time leading scorer, Patton moved past former Lumberjack player and assistant coach Laura Dinkins – who will return to Flagstaff as an assistant coach with Idaho State on Saturday - for second in program history with 725 career rebounds.
"This was a great team win," Patton said. "I think we are more of a team than ever in my four years and everyone is really playing together. Hopefully we can keep doing what we've been doing and continue to win."
Weber State played the Lumberjacks close to start the contest and held a 15-14 lead eight minutes into the first half. NAU got it going from there, using a 10-1 run over the next seven minutes to take a 24-16 lead with 5:05 to play in the half. The Wildcats cut the NAU lead down to three points at 29-26 with 2:32 left in the half, but NAU ended the half on a 7-0 run to take a 36-26 halftime lead.
The Lumberjacks did not lead by less than 10 points for the duration of the second half as they opened the period on a 12-3 run to extend to a 48-29 lead with 14:37 to play. Patton totaled 12 points and seven rebounds in the second half while Weber State shot just 31.0% as the Lumberjack lead reached 20 points at 52-32 with 11:11 remaining. The Wildcats got no closer than 16 points for the remainder of the contest as a layup by NAU sophomore Erikka Banks with 3:06 to play gave NAU a game-high 23 point lead before the final score settled at 76-55.
"We're not where we want to be but we're definitely heading in the right direction," Darling said. "It's nice to win when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing because it proves that what we are trying to do works. We've been working on our rebounding in practice and we're getting better, but I told them we're not where we want to be so we'll keep practicing and keep getting better."
Senior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins scored in double-figures for the third straight game as she helped the NAU cause with 13 points while making 4-of-8 shots from 3-point range. Senior Aubrey Davis added seven points, nine rebounds, and four assists while senior Paige Haynes had eight points and seven assists and junior Patricia Gortarez had eight points and a career-high five assists off the bench. Weber State freshman Desiree Ramos and junior Britney Newcomb each had 15 points to lead the Wildcats.
NAU will close its season-long four game home stand against defending Big Sky champion Idaho State at 6:35 p.m. Saturday in the Walkup Skydome. Fans can gain FREE admission to the contest by presenting a ticket from the NAU Invitational indoor track and field meet, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday in the dome.