NAU women can't find basket in loss to Idaho St.
In the second-lowest-scoring home game in Northern Arizona women's basketball history, the Lumberjacks limited Idaho State to 19 percent shooting in the second half but shot just 31.6 percent for the game and were limited to 18 points in the second half in a 49-44 loss.
NAU moved to 1-7 in the Big Sky and 6-14 overall, while Idaho State remained undefeated in conference play at 6-0 and 14-5 overall.
The 93 combined points between the two teams were the second fewest in an NAU home game, with only the 89 combined points between the Lumberjacks and Portland State in 2000 being lower. After both teams shot 40 percent in the first half, Idaho State went 6 of 31 (19.4%) in the second half while the Lumberjacks were 7 of 30 (23.3%), with the Bengals outscoring NAU 19-18 in the final period. The teams made just three combined field goals and no free throws through the first nine minutes of the second half, with the Bengals beginning the half 1 of 19 from the field.
“The two things I asked of the team this week were to play harder and play better defense, and we did those things,” NAU head coach Laurie Kelly said. “But we need to be able to finish layups and make free throws, and it came down to those very easy things today. I thought that we played selfish offensively and didn’t move the ball. We were going to make shots against Idaho State by passing and breaking their defense down, and we never did that.”
Both offenses started the game well, with NAU jumping to a 15-8 lead with 12:18 to play in the first half. Idaho State responded with a 14-2 run to open up a 22-17 lead with 6:23 remaining in the opening period, and the Bengals maintained an advantage for the remainder of the half and took a 30-26 lead into the intermission.
Neither team could find the basket to open the second half. After NAU junior Aubrey Davis made a layup 1:26 into the second half, neither team scored for more than three minutes before an Idaho State hoop at the 15:26 mark. Over the next 4:26, a layup by Lumberjacks sophomore Khyra Conerly produced the only other points, as NAU trailed by just three points at 33-30.
Idaho State did not score for more than five and a half minutes but never trailed, shooting 1 of 19 in the half before a made field goal with 11 minutes to play gave the visitors a 35-32 lead. The Lumberjacks still trailed by just three points at 38-35 with 6:16 to play before the Bengals used a 5-0 run to take an eight-point lead with less than three minutes remaining. The Lumberjacks could not get closer than four points for the remainder of the game.
NAU's strong defensive work resulted in the lowest opponent field-goal percentage and point total of the season, as Idaho State shot just 29.5 percent for the contest. Both teams made 18 field goals and four 3-pointers, but the five-point difference came in the Bengals going 9 for 11 from the free-throw line and NAU finishing 4 of 9 from the line. NAU had a slim 44-42 rebounding edge but committed 19 turnovers while the Bengals had 15 giveaways.
Only two players in the game finished with double-digit scoring, with junior Amy Patton leading the Lumberjacks with 10 points and junior Kaela Oakes scoring 12 to pace Idaho State.
NAU sophomore Trinidee Trice finished with nine points and added five rebounds, and Shay May led the Lumberjacks with six boards. NAU had 13 players see action in the game, with 11 scoring at least one point and grabbing at least one rebound.