NAU women can’t keep up with Loyola Marymount

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Just as the Northern Arizona women’s basketball team did to UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Loyola Marymount did to the Lumberjacks on Saturday afternoon. The Lions snapped a halftime tie with a decisive 11-1 run that propelled them to a 79-58 victory over NAU, which saw its two-game win streak come to an end.

The Lumberjacks are now 2-3 this season.

“For as well as we played Thursday, we played that bad today,” said NAU coach Sue Darling. “It’s hard to win when you can’t pass the ball, make layups or free throws. The funny thing is they turned the ball over 29 times, but they kept playing when the going got tough.”

The first half was littered with turnovers, as the two teams combined for 32 miscues in the first 20 minutes. The Lumberjacks shot 54.5 percent from the field in the first half but still found themselves squared up at 29-29 at the break. NAU led by as many as three during the half and was led by eight points from freshman Brittani Lusain and seven points from senior Amanda Frost at halftime.

The second half quickly swung in Loyola Marymount’s favor as it surged in front by 10 at 40-30 five minutes into the half. NAU’s deficit grew to as much as 20 with 5:42 remaining in the game but the Lumberjacks had one final run in them as they attempted to get back into the game. Junior Erikka Banks’ two free throws started an 8-0 run that got NAU within 12 at 70-58 with just over two minutes remaining but it would not get any closer.

After shooting just 37.9 percent in the first half, Loyola Marymount shot 51.7 percent in the second half. Meanwhile the Lumberjacks’ shooting performance dropped to 31.3 percent in the deciding final 20 minutes.

The Lumberjacks had four players in double-figures led by Banks’ 16. Lusain had another all-around game posting 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals while Frost and freshman Priscilla Brooks each added 10. Lusain, Brooks and junior Raven Anderson each had seven rebounds, but the Lions controlled the rebounding game with a 45-27 advantage.

NAU forced 29 turnovers and registered 16 steals, a team-high five coming from Banks, but it turned the ball over 25 times itself.

The Lumberjacks finally return home next Saturday for their first home contest since their season opener on Nov. 10. They will host UT Arlington at 11:30 a.m. at the Skydome as part of an NAU basketball doubleheader with the men’s team.