BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Northern Arizona women's basketball team shot 55 percent from the field in the second half and 49 percent for the game, but the Lumberjacks fell victim to a Montana State that was firing on all cylinders in a 99-85 decision. With the loss, the Lumberjacks were eliminated from contention for a Big Sky Championship berth and will wrap up their season on Saturday at Montana. NAU falls to 9-19 overall, 6-13 in conference play with one game to play.
Senior Amanda Frost did her best to keep NAU's postseason hopes alive, finishing with a career-high 38 points for her sixth 30-point game of the season. The 38 points are the most of any player in the Big Sky this season and is the third highest single-game total in school history. Frost shot 15-of-27 from the field, 3-of-5 from long distance and added five rebounds, three assists, five steals and a block. Frost set a new career-high with 15 made field goals, equaling the second-best single game total in school history.
NAU trailed just 17-15 following Frost's layup with 12 minutes left in the first half, but the Bobcats reeled off the next seven points to take a nine-point lead. The home team had one more big run in them before the half was over as it turned a 10-point game into a 48-28 lead with an 11-1 run at the 4:19 mark.
The Lumberjacks went into halftime trailing by 19, but utilizing full-court pressure they slowly began to swing the momentum in their favor. Five minutes into the half, the Bobcat lead was down to 14 and following the first of two three-pointers by freshman Rene Coggins, the Lumberjacks had closed to 69-58 with 14:08 left in the game. Coggins made her second triple moments later after Montana State had strung together back-to-back baskets which brought NAU within 12 points, but that would be the closest it would get.
The Lumberjacks had one final run in them as Frost scored five points, junior Raven Anderson contributed four and Coggins hit another jumper during an 11-0 run that got them within 93-78 with four minutes remaining. A corresponding MSU 6-0 spurt proved to be the closer though pushing the home team's lead back out over 20. NAU finished the game by scoring the final seven points.
Four Lumberjacks finished in double-digits with Coggins, Anderson and freshman Brittani Lusain all following Frost's strong effort. Coggins finished with 14 points and Anderson and Lusain each added 13. Anderson was one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with a game-high nine rebounds as well as three blocks, while Lusain chipped in seven rebounds and five assists.
Despite an inspired second half rally, the Lumberjacks were ultimately doomed by their first half and the Bobcats' complete effort with five players in double-figures and two others with nine points. MSU shot 51 percent for the game and hit 8-of-17 from three-point range. It also outrebounded NAU by a 46-30 margin.
NAU will look to finish the season on a high note in Missoula versus the Lady Griz of Montana. Tipoff in the Dalhberg Arena is set for 2 p.m. Fans can listen to the season finale and Frost's final game of her outstanding career here.