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Women's Basketball Looking for Treasure in The Golden State

Game Information:

Opponent: UC Santa Barbara (Thursday, Dec. 5/8:00 p.m.)

Location: The Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.

Live Stats: www.ucsbgauchos.com

Audio: www.ucsbgauchos.com

Video: www.BigWest.tv

Opponent: Loyola Marymount (Saturday, Dec. 7/3:00 p.m.)

Location: Gersten Pavilion - Los Angeles, Calif.

Live Stats: www.lmulions.com

Video: www.lmulions.com

GAME NOTES (PDF)

VIDEO PREVIEW WITH COACH DARLING, ERIKKA BANKS & RENE COGGINS

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona women's basketball wraps up their four-game road stretch this week with a pair of games in California. The Lumberjacks will play UC Santa Barbara on Thursday before a game in Los Angeles versus Loyola Marymount on Saturday in the team's first of two non-conference trips to The Golden State.

NAU hopes to carry its momentum gained from its first victory of the season last week at Utah Valley. Behind a career-high 30 points from senior Amanda Frost and double-doubles by junior Erikka Banks and freshman Priscilla Brooks, the Lumberjacks rallied from a halftime deficit to pick up a 80-66 victory to improve to 1-2 this season.

Series History: The Lumberjacks will face UCSB for just the third time in school history and first since the 1990-91 season. The Gauchos defeated the Lumberjacks, 77-59, back in 1990 when the teams last met up on the hardwood at a tournament in San Francisco. NAU earned a 80-58 victory in the first ever matchup in 1985 in Santa Barbara as the two teams are knotted up at 1-1 in the all-time series.

NAU will then play Loyola Marymount for the first time since the 2007-08 season, when the Lumberjacks defeated the Lions, 71-59, in Flagstaff. NAU has won seven of the eight all-time meetings between the two teams. Loyola Marymount's lone win in the series came during the 2000-01 campaign in which it won 66-51 on its home court. 

Coach Sue Darling Quote for the Week: "We're getting better and better. The beauty of December is we'll have game after game, while in November we only had three games so there were a lot of practices. Now we're going to be quickly turning things around. We've been putting one good practice on top of another good practice, so can we now put one good game on top of another game? It starts this week against UCSB and LMU."

About UC Santa Barbara (4-3, 0-0 Big West): UC Santa Barbara bounced back from a 71-67 loss at home to San Diego State last Saturday and defeated Pepperdine, 77-69, on Tuesday. The win was the Gauchos' third in their last four games and they also have victories over Occidental, Santa Clara and Hampton this season.

Senior Nicole Nesbit leads the team with 18.6 points per and has scored in double-figures every game this season. She led the Gauchos with 26 points against Pepperdine, her second consecutive 20-point game of the season. Seniors Destini Mason (15.9 points) and Melissa Zorning (12.6 points) also average double-digit scoring and Mason leads the team with 6.7 rebounds per game. 

About Loyola Marymount (1-6, 0-0 West Coast): Loyola Marymount has dropped four consecutive games leading into the week which begins on Thursday at Colorado State before it returns home to host the Lumberjacks on Saturday. The Lions hosted their Thanksgiving Classic and dropped a 63-60 decision to UC Irvine and a 49-47 game to Montana. LMU's only victory over New Mexico State on Nov. 16.

Senior Hazel Ramirez has led the Lions thus far this season as she currently paces the team in points, assists and steals. Ramirez is averaging 12.6 points per game and also has recorded 31 assists and 18 steals while playing a team-high 31.6 minutes per game. Senior Mackenzie Kerins leads Loyola Marymount with 7.7 rebounds per game and junior Emily Ben-Jumbo is right behind with 6.6 boards per contest.

Two Players of the Week, No Big Deal: Both Frost and Banks earned Big Sky Player of the Week awards this week after stellar performances. Frost earned College Sports Madness honors after putting up a game and career-high 30 points and knocking down four three pointers. Banks was honored by the Big Sky office following her 19 point, 19 rebound performance in which she equaled the sixth-best single game rebounding total in school history. Frost once again leads the Big Sky in scoring and Banks is the conference leader in rebounds for the fourth week in a row.

Brit's Legit: Freshman Brittani Lusain has made her presence felt to begin her career. She made her first career start last week at Utah Valley and did not disappoint, posting an all-around stat line of 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. What will not show in the box score was her defensive effort on the Wolverines' Katie Kuklok. Kuklok entered the game averaging a WAC-best 21.7 points per game, but was held to eight points due to Lusain's defense on her before she fouled out. Through three games, Lusain is averaging 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. She is fourth on the team in scoring, second in rebounding and leads the team in assists, steals and is tied for tops in blocks.

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