EL PASO, Texas – The Northern Arizona women's basketball team was troubled by turnovers and UTEP capitalized Friday night at the Don Haskins Center, sending the Lumberjacks to a 92-43 defeat. The loss dropped NAU to 0-2 on the young 2013-14 season.
"Plain and simple, we're a much better team than we showed tonight," said head coach Sue Darling. "It didn't come down to making or missing shots, we just didn't compete. That was the whole story."
UTEP took control of the game early, racing out to a 15-4 lead at the first media timeout. The Lumberjacks' 6-0 run spurred by four points from senior Amanda Frost and a layup from freshman Rene Coggins cut their deficit to 17-10 before UTEP responded to push its lead back out to double-digits. Despite some impressive ball movement that led to several layups, NAU was plagued by 18 first half turnovers that led to 14 Miner points as it found itself behind 45-20 at the half.
Junior Erikka Banks converted on a layup on NAU's first possession of the second half again displaying the Lumberjacks' ability to move the ball, but the Miners proved to be too much. Behind a second half scoring effort that was fueled by seven three-pointers during the final 20 minutes, UTEP extended its lead despite an NAU effort to cut into its advantage.
Frost led the Lumberjacks with 11 points, recording her second double-digit scoring effort of the season. Freshman Brittani Lusain had another strong game off the bench, totaling eight points and equaling the team-high of seven rebounds – her second game with seven rebounds this season. Lusain also added three assists to lead NAU as well as two steals. Banks finished with six points and seven rebounds.
Although seven of the team's newcomers registered points on Friday, NAU struggled with 29 miscues that turned directly into 31 points for UTEP. The Lumberjacks did hang tough on the glass, as they were outrebounded by a slight 38-36 margin but they could not keep up with the Miners' hot shooting night. UTEP shot 50 percent from the field compared to 32 percent for the Lumberjacks and the home team cashed in on 11 three-pointers for the game.
The Lumberjacks are back out on the road next Saturday at Utah Valley. NAU will make the trip to Orem, Utah for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off as it seeks to snap its season-opening two-game skid.