Opponent: UTEP (Friday, Nov. 11/7:00 p.m.)
Location: El Paso, Texas
Opponent: Antelope Valley (Sunday, Nov. 13/12:00 p.m.)
Location: Rolle Activity Center - Flagstaff, Ariz.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona women's basketball team opens the 2016-17 season this weekend with a pair of games. First, the Lumberjacks will travel to El Paso, Texas to face UTEP in their season opener on Friday at 7 p.m. The 'Jacks will then return to Flagstaff for their home opener on Sunday at 12 p.m. as they host Antelope Valley in the Rolle Activity Center.
Follow the Action:
- Friday's game at UTEP will have a live stream at www.utepathletics.com.
- Sunday's game versus Antelope Valley can be streamed for free online at watchbigsky.com.
Promotions: Sunday's home opener will be a Blue Out. All fans are encouraged to wear blue and the first 200 fans will receive blue pom poms.
Robyne Bostick's Opening Thought: "I'd like to see the progress we've made from the first day of practice. I want to see us go out play hard because that's going to be key. The team has been practicing hard, so it'll be nice to see that carry over into this weekend's games."
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU was picked 11th and 12th in the Big Sky Preseason Coaches and Media Polls respectively. The Lumberjacks return four players who ended the season as starters. Seniors Rene Coggins, Taylor Leyva and Catelyn Preston as well as sophomore Kaleigh Paplow were part of NAU's starting five down the stretch last season. Coggins is NAU's leading returning scorer, coming off a career-high 11.1 points per game last season. She ranked eighth in the conference in three-point percentage at 36.9 percent and knocked down a career-best 52 triples. NAU will also have the luxury of the return of senior Brittani Lusain. Lusain missed the entire conference schedule last year, and had started all 11 games prior. She averaged 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Redshirt juniors Olivia Lucero and Kenna McDavis will make their Lumberjack debuts this weekend after the pair redshirted last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Scouting UTEP: UTEP is the defending Conference USA regular season champions and is coming off a 29-5 season. The Miners tied the school record for wins and advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals. The Miners were picked fifth in this year's C-USA preseason poll and placed two players - Jenzel Nash and Sparkle Taylor - on the preseason all-conference team. Nash earned a spot on the All C-USA First Team last season after leading the team in scoring at 13.8 points per game. She also led the team in rebounding at 5.6 per game and dominated the offensive glass pulling down 84 offensive boards. Taylor averaged 9.8 points per game in just 17.0 minutes per game last season on her way to being named the Conference USA Sixth Player of the year. She shot 47.2 percent from the field and is UTEP's second-leading returning scorer. UTEP defeated St. Mary's in its exhibition game, 72-54, on Nov. 4. Taylor scored 18 points to lead the Miners.
Bostick on UTEP: "UTEP is always a really good program and Coach Adams always brings in good players year in and year out. It's always a good test to go there and see where we are because they're a team that makes the postseason pretty consistently. They lost a few key players, but they're still going to be a tough opponent for us."
Scouting Antelope Valley: Antelope Valley has already opened its inaugural season this fall and is an NAIA institution in the California Pacific Conference. It received a first place vote and was voted third in the preseason Cal Pac coaches poll. The Pioneers have already notched a 97-72 victory over Occidental College on Nov. 1 in their first official game. Antelope Valley also recorded an impressive 76-72 upset over Pepperdine in its lone exhibition game. Antelope Valley will play two games prior to Sunday's contest in Flagstaff, first at home versus Biola on Thursday and then at Big Sky opponent Southern Utah on Saturday. Ahteana Jones came off the bench to lead the Pioneers in their season-opening win, scoring 22 points in 20 minutes. She was one of four players in double-figure scoring. A'Janai Wilcox recorded a game-high 11 rebounds including eight on the offensive end.
Bostick on Antelope Valley: "Antelope Valley plays an up-tempo style and they want to get a lot of shots off. In the games they've played so far, they've played all 15 players on their roster so we're anticipating a fast-paced game. We've been working a lot on our transition offense and defense, so it'll be exciting to see how we do against them."
- NAU and UTEP will be meeting for the 22nd time in school history. UTEP leads the all-time series 11-10. UTEP won the last meeting, 77-66, on Nov. 17, 2015 in El Paso.
- NAU and Antelope Valley will be meeting for the first time in school history.
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