Balanced scoring helps Lady Jacks to win over Queens
Three nights after earning their first victory of the season, the NAU women’s basketball team made two wins in a row by defeating Queens (N.Y.) College 83-71 at the Rolle Activity Center on Nov. 22. However, it was far from a dominant effort against their Division II counterparts.
“I don’t think we came out of the gates ready,” said head coach Laurie Kelly. “I think we took them a little lightly, and we just didn’t defend very well. We were a step behind tonight and things that we thought we would dominate on the glass and in the paint we just didn’t do tonight.”
Both teams battled evenly for most of the first half, with neither team able to lead by more than five points until the Lumberjacks closed the half on a run to take a 41-33 lead into the intermission.
But the Knights would respond in the opening minutes of the second half with a quick 11-3 spurt to knot the game up at 44, five minutes into the half. The game remained tight until the Lumberjacks were able to distance themselves with a decisive 10-0 run that had them ahead 67-57 with just under seven minutes remaining.
“I thought we hit some big shots down the stretch,” Kelly said. “We finally decided to pull away. We didn’t play well, but we won. Give credit to Queens. They played really hard, and Amanda Bartlett — an Arizona girl — played really well for them.”
Bartlett, a junior guard from Mesa, led the Knights with a game-high 29 points but also committed 10 turnovers. The Lumberjacks posted four players in double-digit points, led by junior guard Caty Huntington’s season-high 17. Sophomore guards Amy Patton and Tyler Stephens-Jenkins recorded 15 points apiece, and senior guard Vickie Toney added 12 of her own. Patton also tallied a game-high 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
“There’s no question that our balanced scoring will be a change from last year,” Kelly said. “It makes us harder to defend instead of trying to stop one player, and it takes pressure off someone like Amy when she doesn’t shoot the ball well. I feel like if we can get four players in double figures, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Although Queens shot a higher percentage from the field than NAU — 44.8 to 39.5 percent — the Lumberjacks were able to force 26 Knight turnovers compared to 12 turnovers of their own.
The Lumberjacks now stand at 2-2 on the season and will host their annual Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Tournament. They will take on Binghamton on Nov. 26 and will play in the consolation or championship game the following day, depending on the outcome.
“We’ll break the film down and look at some things we can do a better job at,” Kelly said. “We’re 2-2 heading into our tournament, and our goal is to bring home a first place trophy.”