Opponent: Eastern Washington (Thursday, Jan. 19/6:30 p.m.)
Opponent: Idaho (Saturday, Jan. 21/6:30 p.m.)
Location: Walkup Skydome - Flagstaff, Ariz.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona women's basketball team hopes that a return home this week will change their recent fortunes and snap their four-game skid in the process. NAU hosts Eastern Washington and Idaho in the Skydome this Thursday and Saturday with game times scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on both days.
Follow the Action:
- Both games will be televised live by NAU-TV and shown live on local Flagstaff cable on Suddenlink channels 4 and 104. Thursday's game will be tape delayed on Fox Sports Arizona at 8:30 p.m. and Fox College Sports Pacific at 11 p.m. Saturday's game will also be broadcasted on a tape delay on Fox Sports Arizona at 9:30 p.m. and Fox College Sports Pacific at 11 p.m. Check your local listings for channel information.
- Both games will be streamed for free online at watchbigsky.com.
Promotions: Fans at Thursday's game will receive free slap bracelets as part of Decades Night.
Robyne Bostick's Opening Thought: "We have to make sure that in practice we have the right balance between focusing on the scouting reports for Eastern Washington and Idaho while still trying to give our players a little bit of a rest (due to the short week). We want to focus on what we need to do to get ready while keeping practices a little shorter."
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU is 1-4 in the Big Sky and 5-11 overall and have found a little of luck to not be on its side over the last four games. Since defeating Southern Utah in their Big Sky opener, the Lumberjacks have dropped their last four games by a combined total of 12 points. NAU fell to Sacramento State, 82-76, and Portland State, 56-55, this past road trip. Redshirt junior Olivia Lucero leads the 'Jacks with 14.3 points per game. Lucero scored 17 points against the Hornets but was limited to just seven points in the loss to the Vikings on Monday. Senior Rene Coggins reached double-figures in both games on NAU's most recent road trip, and is averaging 12.1 points per game. Coggins is shooting 38.6 percent from three-point range. Senior Brittani Lusain ranks second in the conference in rebounding with 8.4 per game, and is the Big Sky's top offensive rebounder at 3.4 per game. Lusain collected a career-high 16 boards in the loss at Sacramento State.
Scouting Eastern Washington: Eastern Washington picked up three first-place votes in the Big Sky Preseason Media Poll and was slotted fourth. The Eagles were one spot lower in fifth in the vote by the coaches. They have won their last three games and are 4-1 in conference. At 9-7 overall, Eastern Washington defeated Idaho State, 58-41, and Weber State, 99-85, last week at home. Delaney Hodgins, a preseason all-conference pick, is the conference's leading scorer with 18.3 points per game. Hodgins is shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from behind the arc while also averaging 6.5 rebounds per game. Tisha Phillips is the team's second-leading scorer at 14.1 points per game and is the leader in assists with 57. She ranks ninth in the conference with 3.6 assists per game.
Bostick on Eastern Washington: "Eastern Washington is going to be tough because they're capable of scoring a lot of points. They beat Weber State last Saturday by putting up 99 points, so they definitely have a lot of players who can score the ball. Delaney Hodgins is always a tough matchup because she's capable of putting points on the board pretty quickly."
Scouting Idaho: Idaho, the defending conference tournament champions, was voted the favorite by the Big Sky coaches in the preseason poll. The Vandals were second in the media poll. They are 7-9 overall and 2-3 in the Big Sky. They split their two games last week at home, first defeating Weber State, 95-77, before falling to Idaho State, 67-60. Mikayla Ferenz ranks fourth in the Big Sky in scoring at 17.2 per game, and is averaging 18.6 points in conference play. She leads the conference in free throw percentage at 90 percent and has made the third-most three-pointers (42) in the Big Sky. Geraldine McCorkell is the sixth-leading scorer in the conference at 15.3 points per game and is averaging 5.6 rebounds per game. McCorkell was also a preseason all-conference selection.
Bostick on Idaho: "Idaho definitely likes to shoot the three, so we'll have to make sure that we're working on our defensive closeouts as we prepare to play them. They have some good size with their guards and they can go to a bigger lineup. If we can defend the three, we should be in a good position, and transition defense will be big for us."
- NAU and Eastern Washington will be meeting for the 62nd time in school history. Eastern Washington leads the all-time series 36-25. Eastern Washington swept the season series last season, 81-71 in Flagstaff and 72-65 at home.
- NAU and Idaho will be meeting for the 24th time in school history. Idaho leads the all-time series 15-8. Idaho swept the season series last season, 72-51 in Flagstaff and 76-59 at home.
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