FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Northern Arizona women’s basketball team hung around into the final minutes but ultimately came up short in a 72-65 loss to Idaho State on Thursday night in the Skydome in a pivotal Big Sky matchup for both teams.
The Lumberjacks fell to 9-17 overall and 6-11 in league play and will need to win out to keep their postseason hopes alive.
"Everything we do is based off our effort and energy, and when we bring it, we can play phenomenally," said NAU coach Sue Darling. "If we want to be a championship team, we have to deliver in games like this, so we have to figure out how to play with a little pressure on us. We’re getting better at that, and we came up short on this one. We’re going to get three (wins) the hard way from here."
Senior Amanda Frost scored a game-high 28 points to move within two points of the 1,000 mark for her career, and junior Raven Anderson recorded her first double-double of the season with 23 points and 13 rebounds. However, the Lumberjacks struggled to get production elsewhere, as the rest of the team combined for just 14 points.
Despite the offensive struggles, NAU went into halftime down just 35-31 following an important 8-2 run to close out the half. The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 12-6 lead through the first five and a half minutes, but the Bengals seized control and eventually took the only double-digit lead of the game at 33-23 with 3:36 left in the half. Sparked by six points from Frost, NAU closed the gap before the half, and a layup by Frost to open the second half got the Lumberjacks within 35-33.
Freshman Brittani Lusain converted on a look at the rim to tie the game at 41-all five minutes into the second half, but Idaho State regained control and pushed its lead to nine points over the next five minutes. NAU got back to within two with 5:28 remaining and on two more occasions, the last with 2:31 left following two made free throws by Frost. Anderson’s layup got the Lumberjacks within 68-65 with a little over a minute left, but the Bengals’ Lindsey Reed put the game away by going 4 of 6 from the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds.
"All I thought about all day was how we were going to get the win tonight, and there was no doubt in my mind from the tip that we were going to win," Anderson said. "I carried that mentality through in the game until the last buzzer."
The Lumberjacks shot just 37.7 percent from the field while the Bengals shot 49 percent. The biggest difference came from behind the arc, though, as Idaho State shot 47.4 percent from long distance compared to NAU’s 17.6 percent, making six more 3-pointers than the Lumberjacks.
Frost went 10 of 20 from the field for the game and sits at 998 career points heading into the final home game of her career on Saturday. One game after Anderson notched her first 20-point contest last Saturday, she reset her career high with 23 points and came up one rebound shy of her career best with a season-high 13 rebounds.
NAU wraps up its home schedule against Weber State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Walkup Skydome. The Lumberjacks will honor their lone senior, Frost, prior to the game as part of the Senior Day festivities.