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February 28, 2013

Women's Basketball Struggles Offensively in Loss to ISU

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POCATELLO, Idaho – Idaho State utilized a 14-0 run midway through the first half to turn an early deficit into a comfortable lead as the Bengals posted a 67-46 victory over the Northern Arizona women's basketball team Thursday night at Reed Gym.

The Lumberjacks fell to 7-19 overall, 6-11 in the conference with the loss. However, coupled with Southern Utah's loss at Montana, they remained one game back of the coveted seventh and final qualifying spot for the Big Sky Conference tournament.

NAU jumped on Idaho State early and led 12-5 seven minutes into the game following a pair of free throws by junior Amanda Frost. But the Lumberjacks would go cold from the field over the next six minutes, missing their next six shots and turning the ball over on five occasions, and the Bengals capitalized to go on their game-changing run that swung the momentum in their favor.

With a 19-12 lead in hand, the Bengals never gave it up as they increased their eventual nine-point halftime lead to double-digits throughout the entire second half.

Although the Lumberjacks limited the Bengals to just 38 percent shooting for the game, they were plagued throughout by poor shooting of their own as they struggled from the field. NAU shot just 23 percent for the game, including 4-of-18 in the second half.

While NAU did make the most of their opportunities at the free-throw line, converting on 22 of their 29 attempts, and held their own on the glass with Idaho State holding a slight 41-36 rebounding advantage, in the end the Lumberjacks' cold night from the field was too much to overcome.

Frost registered her third straight double-digit scoring game with 11 points including makes on all six of her attempts from the line but was the only NAU player in double-figures with senior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins finishing behind her with nine points. Senior Aubrey Davis pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Kaela Oakes led three Bengals in double-digit scoring with a game-high 18 points to go along with five of Idaho State's eight steals, while Jessa Jeppesen and Ashleigh Vella chipped in 13 and 11 points, respectively.

The Lumberjacks will play their final regular season road game on Saturday when they travel to Ogden, Utah to face Weber State with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m. NAU defeated Weber State, 76-55, in Flagstaff on Jan. 17. The Wildcats are the only remaining winless Division-I team in the country but lost by just six points against Sacramento State on Thursday.