NAU women’s postseason hopes ended by Montana State

BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Northern Arizona women’s basketball team shot 55 percent from the field in the second half and 49 percent for the game, but that wasn’t enough Thursday night as the Lumberjacks were eliminated from postseason contention with a 99-85 loss to Montana State.

NAU (9-19 overall, 6-13 Big Sky) will complete its season Saturday at Montana.

Senior Amanda Frost did her best to keep NAU’s postseason hopes alive, finishing with a career-high 38 points for her sixth 30-point game of the season. The 38 points were the most by any player in the Big Sky this season and the third-most in school history. Frost shot 15 of 27 from the field and 3 of 5 from long distance and added five rebounds, three assists, five steals and a block. Frost set a new career high with 15 made field goals, equaling the second-best single-game total in school history.

NAU trailed just 17-15 following Frost’s layup with 12 minutes left in the first half, but Montana State reeled off the next seven points to take a nine-point lead. The home team had one more big run in them before the half was over, as the Bobcats turned a 10-point margin into a 48-28 lead with an 11-1 run starting at the 4:19 mark.

The Lumberjacks went into halftime trailing by 19, but utilizing full-court pressure, they slowly swung the momentum back in their favor. Five minutes into the half, the margin was down to 14, and with the first of two 3-pointers by freshman Rene Coggins, the Lumberjacks closed to within 69-58 with 14:08 left in the game. Coggins made her second triple moments later after Montana State had strung together back-to-back baskets, getting NAU back within 12 points, but that was the closest it would get.

The Lumberjacks had one final run in them, as Frost scored five points, junior Raven Anderson contributed four and Coggins hit another jumper during an 11-0 run that got NAU within 93-78 with four minutes remaining, but a corresponding 6-0 Montana State spurt put the game away, pushing the home team’s lead back over 20.

NAU finished the game by scoring the final seven points.

Four Lumberjacks finished in double digits, with Coggins, Anderson and freshman Brittani Lusain all following Frost’s strong effort. Coggins finished with 14 points while Anderson and Lusain each added 13. Anderson was one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with a game-high nine rebounds as well as three blocks, while Lusain chipped in seven rebounds and five assists.

Montana State shot 51 percent for the game and went 8 of 17 from 3-point range. The Bobcats also outrebounded the Lumberjacks by a 46-30 margin.