NAU women struggle offensively in ugly loss

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Northern Arizona women’s basketball team struggled all night offensively, shooting a season-worst 26.5 percent in a 71-41 loss to North Dakota on Thursday. The 41 points also were a season low for the Lumberjacks, who fell to 8-16 overall and 5-10 in the Big Sky.

After a slow start by NAU, junior Erikka Banks converted a three-point play to bring the Lumberjacks within 18-12 with 12:27 remaining in the first half remaining, but the Lumberjacks proceeded to endure an extended scoring drought. NAU missed its next 11 shots over the next eight minutes before freshman Brittani Lusain connected on a jumper to snap a 13-0 North Dakota run. That jump shot sparked a 7-0 NAU run that ended with a layup by senior Amanda Frost that brought the Lumberjacks back to within 31-19.

North Dakota entered halftime with a 40-24 lead, and NAU would not be able to cut into its deficit in the second half. The Lumberjacks once again struggled to score, as their only points through the first 9:40 were two free throws by Banks at the 18:31 mark. By the time Lusain made NAU’s first field goal of the second half with 10:20 left in the game, the Lumberjacks trailed by 27. North Dakota led by as many as 33 in the final 20 minutes as NAU shot just 4 of 20 in the second half.

The Lumberjacks made just 13 field goals, their fewest all season, and failed to hit a 3-pointer, misfiring on all 12 of their attempts from long distance. North Dakota shot 45 percent from the field and held a commanding 47-26 edge on the glass. NAU forced 19 turnovers but was only able to turn those into six points.

Lusain was the lone Lumberjack in double figures, finishing with a career-high 25 points. Frost and Banks each had six, and no other player scored more than two.