NAU women can't keep up with Idaho State
FEB 01, 2014 7:23p ET
POCATELLO, Idaho -- Idaho State went on a run to start the second half that extended its halftime lead to nine points, and the Northern Arizona women's basketball team was never able to recover in an 82-72 loss Saturday afternoon.
The Bengals shot 64 percent from long distance in the second half and 50 percent for the game in denying the Lumberjacks a second consecutive victory. NAU concluded the first half of the Big Sky schedule with a 3-7 mark and is now 6-13 overall.
"I thought our defense was solid in the first half, but they scored 52 on us in the second half, which is way too many," said NAU coach Sue Darling. "We didn't have the energy, and they forced us to take some bad shots. We did a nice job of attacking; Erikka (Banks) had a good game offensively. We didn't have good chemistry, and we are a team that normally has good chemistry. It's back to the grind working on our defense, and we'll be in good shape."
Idaho State raced out to an 8-0 lead to start the game before senior Amanda Frost converted a three-point play nearly three minutes into the game. Despite missing nine of their first 10 shot attempts, the Lumberjacks was able to hang around because they repeatedly got to rim and drew fouls to get to the free-throw line. Idaho State also turned the ball over on seven occasions in the first nine minutes. Banks' 3-pointer gave NAU its first lead of the game at 12-10 with 10:32 remaining in the first half, but the lead would be traded several times over the next few minutes.
Four straight points by Frost handed the Lumberjacks their largest lead at 20-17 at the 7:47 mark, and they led by two following a layup from freshman Priscilla Brooks with 1:10 to play before halftime. The Bengals' Alissa Willard stole the momentum and scored the final five points of the half, though, and the home team held a slight 30-27 halftime lead.
The lead grew to 38-29 less than two minutes into the second half, and the Lumberjacks were forced to play comeback. Every NAU run was answered by a hot-shooting Idaho State team, and the Bengals led by as many as 12 points with 11:15 remaining in the game. Down eight with 8:23 left, the Lumberjacks rallied, as a fastbreak layup by freshman Rene Coggins was followed by a heads-up steal by Frost off the ensuing inbounds pass. Frost followed with a 3-pointer, cutting deficit to three at 57-54.
But an ensuing 15-4 run by Idaho State put the game out of reach, as NAU found itself behind by 14 was never able to get closer than seven the rest of the way.
The Bengals went 7 of 11 from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes and staved off every run by the Lumberjacks. For the game, they shot 49 percent while limiting NAU to 37 percent.
Banks finished with a game-best 27 points, one shy of tying her career high. She shot 7 of 10 and set a new career-best with 12 made free throws on 14 attempts. Frost was the only other Lumberjack in double figures -- just one game after NAU had a season-best six players in double digits -- finishing with 23 points and four steals. Freshman Brittani Lusain had a team-high six rebounds and three assists.