Women's Hoops Return Home, Hosts UT Arlington on Saturday
Opponent: UT Arlington (Saturday, Dec. 14/11:30 a.m.)
Location: Walkup Skydome - Flagstaff, Ariz.
Live Stats: www.nauathletics.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - For the first time in over a month, the Northern Arizona women's basketball team is back in Flagstaff when they welcome UT Arlington to the Walkup Skydome on Saturday. The Lumberjacks split their four-game road stretch over the last three weeks and went 1-1 on their road trip in California last weekend. After NAU ran away in the second half to defeat UC Santa Barbara, it saw its two-game win streak snapped by Loyola Marymount as it takes a 2-3 mark into Saturday's contest.
Freshman Brittani Lusain averaged 13.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 3.0 steals in the two games last week as she continued her all-around contributions. Junior Erikka Banks averaged a team-best 19.5 points game and was one of four players to score in double-figure in both games along with senior Amanda Frost and freshman Priscilla Brooks.
Series History: NAU last faced UT Arlington during the 2007-08 season in the Lumberjacks' season opener. The Lumberjacks claimed a 64-50 victory, their first over the Mavericks, and snapped a two-game losing streak to UTA. UTA owns victories during the 1983-84 season and the 2006-07 season for a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series.
In the last meeting between the two teams, NAU broke open what was a two-point lead at halftime with a second half surge. Laura Dinkins played all 40 minutes and recorded a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Sade Cunningham added 16 points as NAU shot 47 percent for the game and held UTA to 36 percent.
Ticket Promotions: Saturday's game will have two ticket promotions. First, with a purchased game ticket for the women's game, fans will receive a free game ticket to the men's game versus Grand Canyon to follow in the Skydome at 3 p.m. Second, fans who bring an unwrapped toy to the women's game will receive a game ticket for $3.
Students can also get free coffee, tea and breakfast food prior to the start of the game.
Coach Sue Darling Quote for the Week: "We played some of our best basketball of the season last Thursday against UC Santa Barbara. They're a quality program and to go in there and beat them, I was proud of their effort from beginning to end. On the flip side, we played some of our worst basketball of the season against LMU. Overall it was nice to get the split, but I feel we could've and should've gotten two wins so we have a lot of work this week before UTA."
About UT Arlington (0-8, 0-0 Sun Belt): UT Arlington returns to the court this Saturday for its first game in 10 days since dropping a 70-55 contest to North Texas on Dec. 4. Although the Mavericks carry an 0-8 record with them to Flagstaff, their last three losses have been an overtime defeat to VCU, a seven-point loss to Abilene Christian and the game versus North Texas in which it led in the second half.
Junior Briana Walker has been the Mavericks' go-to player this year despite starting just four of the first eight games. Walker leads UT Arlington with 15.9 points and 8.6 rebounds and put up 13 points and eight rebounds against North Texas. Seniors Desherra Nwanguma and Laila Suleiman also scored in double-figures in the Mavericks' most recent game and is the second and third leading scorers on team at 9.3 and 8.5 points respectively.
Laying It Up: The Lumberjacks lead the Big Sky with a .435 team field goal percentage and that is in large part because the team has shown a great ability recently to get layups. Fantastic ball movement has resulted in a host of layups - points which Coach Darling calls the easiest in the game - and has played a big role in the Lumberjacks winning two of their last three games. In last Thursday's win at UC Santa Barbara, the Lumberjacks converted on 57 percent of their field goal attempts and dominated the paint with layup after layup. Of NAU's 79 points, 54 came in the paint and helped propel the Lumberjacks to the win.
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