NAU women come up short against Montana St.

BOZEMAN, Mont. –- Despite a season-high 19 points from junior Tyler Stephens-Jenkins, the Northern Arizona women were dealt a 77-65 loss by Montana State on Saturday.

NAU lost its ninth consecutive game, equaling its longest losing streak in a season since 1992-93, while falling to 0-6 in the Big Sky and 5-13 overall. Montana State improved to 11-6 and 3-2 in conference play.

The Lumberjacks were outscored 27-11 at the free-throw line and outrebounded 46-35 in the loss.
 
“I thought we played well and it was a great, competitive basketball game for the most part, but we had some mental breakdowns at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half that cost us the game,” NAU head coach Laurie Kelly said. “We played really hard but went back to struggling from the free-throw line, missing key free throws to keep the game close. I was pleased with our play for most of the game, but we let our guard down in that one bad stretch, and they took advantage of us.”
 
The Lumberjacks made four more field goals than the Bobcats and shot 39 percent compared to Montana State’s 37 percent, but 10 of the Bobcats’ 20 made field goals were 3-pointers. Montana State also made 27 of 35 free throws, while NAU went just 11 for 21 from the charity stripe.  
 
NAU jumped out to a 7-2 lead through the first 4:35 of the contest before Montana State went on a 9-1 run to take an 11-8 advantage. The teams remained within four points of each other for most of the half, with Montana State holding a 28-27 advantage with 1:42 to play. The Bobcats would close the half on a 7-0 run, though, culminated by a 3-point buzzer-beater by senior Katie Bussey, to take a 35-27 halftime lead.
 
Montana State picked up where it left off to open the second half, opening on a 7-0 run and extending its overall run to 14 consecutive points to build a 42-27 lead. Down by 15 again at 44-29 with 16:41 to play, NAU rallied with a 17-2 run over the next six minutes to tie the score at 46 with 10:39 remaining. The Lumberjacks could not take the lead, however, as Montana State responded with a 7-0 spurt. With a 56-50 advantage, the Bobcats tacked on an 11-2 run to regain a 15-point lead at 67-52 with 3:58 to go. NAU could get no closer than eight points in the final minutes, as the Bobcats made 10 of 10 free throws in the final 53 seconds to finish the 77-65 win.    
 
Stephens-Jenkins went 7 for 17 and hit a trio of 3-pointers for her season-best 19 points and added two rebounds, two assists and two steals. Junior Amy Patton was the only other Lumberjack in double-figures, finishing with 11 points, while sophomores Trinidee Trice and Shay May paced the team with six rebounds apiece. Freshman point guard Jasmine Sneed had the best game of her young career, totaling six points on 3-of-5 shooting and a team-high three assists in 20 minutes of action.

Bussey scored a game-high 26 points and junior Rachel Semansky grabbed 18 rebounds for the victorious Bobcats.