GREELEY, Colo. – Northern Colorado shot 54.0% for the game including a 60.9% mark in the second half and was led by 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting by senior Lauren Oosdyke in a 69-54 win over Northern Arizona on Thursday night in Greeley.
"We needed a 40 minute effort and we did not have that tonight," said NAU head coach Sue Darling. "(Northern Colorado) did a good job on the inside and we had no regard for team defense. We're not going to win if we don't play as a team and we need a better effort, both offensively and defensively."
Northern Arizona (4-13, 3-5 BSC) shot 43.5% from the field – just above its Big Sky-leading season field goal percentage of .416 – but couldn't stop the Northern Colorado (8-9, 5-3 BSC) offensive attack. Senior Amy Patton finished with 14 points after going scoreless in the first half while sophomore Raven Anderson (11 points) and senior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins (10 points) also finished in double figures.
NAU made 12-of-15 free-throw attempts and shot 47.8% in the second half but was outrebounded 30-23 and made seven less field goals than the home team. The Bears were just 5-of-14 from 3-point range but were 22-of-36 (61.1%) on 2-point field goals, including 11-of-12 on twos by Oosdyke, while junior D'shara Strange added 10 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
Northern Colorado jumped to an early 12-4 lead in the first half before NAU used a 9-2 run to pull within a 14-13 deficit with 11:18 to play. The Lumberjacks trailed by just three points at 18-15 with 10 minutes to left in the half, but the Bears used a 6-0 spurt to build a 24-15 advantage. NAU made just one field goal over the final 7:25 of the first half as UNC scored the last four points of the half and led 32-19 at halftime.
The Bears scored the first five points of the second half to extend to an 18-point advantage. NAU then used a 7-0 run to get back within a 37-26 deficit before the Bears went on a 9-4 run to lead 46-30. The Lumberjacks responded with a basket, a free-throw, and then a three by Patton to get the Bear lead down to 10 at 46-36 with 10 minutes to play.
NAU could get no closer as UNC answered with a 3-pointer and jumper and built up to a game high 19 point lead at 59-40 with 5:55 to play. A 7-0 Lumberjack run got NAU within four possessions with 4:08 remaining but the deficit proved too large to overcome as the Bears finished off a 15-point win.
The Lumberjacks will play their first Big Sky game against new conference member North Dakota at 1 p.m. Mountain time Saturday in Grand Forks. North Dakota lost to Sacramento State, 79-77, on Thursday night to move to 2-7 in the Big Sky and 7-11 overall.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on NAUAthletics.com/Radio with the pregame show beginning at 12:50 p.m.