Opponent: UTEP (Friday, Nov. 22/7:00 p.m.)
Location: Don Haskins Center - El Paso, Texas
Live Stats: www.utepathletics.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona women's basketball team returns to the court after a 12-day layoff following their season opener. NAU heads to El Paso, Texas to play UTEP on Friday in search of a rebound victory after suffering a season-opening 74-66 loss to Hawaii on Nov. 10. It will be the Lumberjacks' first game on the road this season.
Senior Amanda Frost led the Lumberjacks with 24 points versus Hawaii, equaling her second-highest single-game total of her career. Sophomores Raven Anderson (15 points) and Erikka Banks (14 rebounds) also had solid season debuts while NAU received contributions from several of its freshmen as well. The Lumberjacks outshot Hawaii 44.6 percent to 41.7 percent, but were hurt by 18 turnovers that led to 22 points for the Rainbow Wahine and also Hawaii's 55.6 percent clip from behind the arc.
Series History: NAU holds a 10-8 advantage in the all-time series with UTEP, but UTEP has claimed victories in the last two meetings. The two teams most recently met during the 2006-07 season in Flagstaff, a game in which the Miners edged out the Lumberjacks 63-62. Alyssa Wahl hit a jumper to give NAU a 62-60 lead with five seconds remaining in the game before UTEP's Jareica Hughes answered with a three-pointer with one second left to provide the final score. Wahl had 12 points to lead NAU and Megan Porter added 11.
The Lumberjacks are 2-4 all-time in El Paso. They last won at UTEP on March 4, 1986 when they earned a 65-43 victory.
Coach Sue Darling Quote for the Week: "I felt like in the Hawaii game we got some good things offensively but our defense was non-existent. We've been spending the last two weeks on playing great Lumberjack defense and it'll be a great test on Friday versus UTEP. They're going to try to get the ball in the paint so our job is going to be to put great pressure on the ball and guard the lane not only individually but as a team."
About UTEP (3-0, 0-0 Conference USA): UTEP is 3-0 this season after hammering New Mexico State and Kansas State at home last week. The Miners notched a 94-69 win over New Mexico State before dealing Kansas State a 84-39 defeat.
Senior Kayla Thornton is the reigning Conference USA Player of the Week after she tallied two double-doubles last week. She averaged 18.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the Miners' two victories and is leading the team with season averages of 15.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Junior Stacie Telles is coming off the bench to average 12.7 points per game and she is shooting 63.6 percent from three-point range. Junior Chrishauna Parker is second on the team with 9.7 rebounds per game and has a team-high 10 steals.
Fresh Debuts: Seven of the team's eight freshmen made their collegiate debut against Hawaii and several of them shined. Taylor Leyva and Rene Coggins earned starts in their first collegiate game. Leyva dished out a team-high five assists without turning the ball over while Coggins posted five points and three assists. Brittani Lusain and Priscilla Brooks made impacts off the bench. Lusain recorded six points, seven rebounds and two steals while Brooks scored six points in just 10 minutes of action.
Happy Helpers: The Lumberjacks ran an offense that featured excellent ball movement in their season opener. Led by Leyva's team-best five assists, NAU assisted on 20 of its 25 field goals. Eight of the 10 players that saw action versus Hawaii had at least one assist and seven of them posted multiple assists. The Lumberjacks' 20.0 assists per game ranks third in the Big Sky and their second-leading .446 field goal percentage can be attributed to the team's willingness to share the ball.
High in the Sky: A handful of Lumberjacks find themselves at or near the top of several categories within the Big Sky in the early going. Frost leads the conference in scoring at 24.0 points per game and three-point field goals made per game with 4.0. Banks is first in rebounding with 14.0 per game, first in defensive rebounding (10.0) and tied for first in offensive rebounding (4.0) and Leyva leads the conference in assist/turnover ratio. Frost is also second in three-point percentage (.571). Anderson ranks third in field goal percentage (.667) and Brooks is right behind in a tie for fourth at .600. Leyva rounds out the list of Lumberjacks in the top-five, tied for third in assists at 5.0 per game.
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