Women’s basketball secures first win
Up three points with two minutes left to play after leading by as many as 23 points — it is a situation NAU women’s basketball head coach Laurie Kelly has seen countless times throughout her career.
Led by senior forward Jenna Galloway’s career night and clutch baskets from sophomore guard Tyler Stephens-Jenkins and freshman forward Trinidee Trice, the Lumberjacks were able to close out and capture their first victory of the season, 76-69 over North Dakota State (NDSU), at the Rolle Activity Center on Nov. 19 — much to Kelly’s delight.
“I’ve seen these type of games slip away from teams, but we made shots,” Kelly said. “The three by Tyler and Trinidee’s [basket] was huge. I loved the fact that we settled down and got stops when we needed to, and we hit free throws down the stretch, which has been an awful statistic for us.”
The Lumberjacks jumped out early against the Bison and led by nine going into halftime after shooting 16-28 (57.1 percent) from the field in the first half. They extended their lead to 23 via a 14-0 run to start the second half. The Lumberjacks seemed to have the game in hand.
“At halftime, we talked about struggling and coming out lackadaisical in the second half,” said Galloway, who scored a career-high 21 points. “So it was a point of emphasis to come out and shove it down their throats, and it showed. Everyone was on the same page, and we were running hard. We were excited.”
The Bison used runs of 10-0 and 9-0 to chip away at the point deficit and were down three points at 66-63 with 1:59 to go. But NDSU came no closer, because on the ensuing possession, Stephens-Jenkins nailed a corner three off an assist by Galloway to push the lead to six. Trice connected on the following trip down the court, and Galloway and Patton combined for five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the NAU victory.
“It’s a game of runs,” said sophomore guard Amy Patton. “They were going to get a run, and things weren’t going well on our side, but luckily we pulled everything together and got the win.”
Aside from their first win, Galloway was the story of the night as she eclipsed her previous career-high of 18 points, while also chipping in three rebounds and four assists.
“It was a great team game, but obviously Jenna, as a senior, really stepped up with her leadership on both ends of the floor,” Kelly said. “She [has] looked really good in practice and really worked hard this summer. She was in the gym a lot, and I really think she’s taking her last year seriously.”
But Galloway was not about to take full credit for her career game.
“Offensively, it was about the movement,” Galloway said. “We were playing really well as a team, and a lot of my passes came because my teammates saw the open gap and made the extra pass. Because my team was playing so well, I was able to play well.”
Patton added 16 points, six rebounds and six assists, and junior forward Katie Pratt contributed eight points of her own. As a team, NAU shot 47.5 percent from the field and 70 percent from the line. They also dished out 21 assists as a team, despite playing without senior guard Vickie Toney.
“We’re a different team than we were last year, and it’s a credit to them,” Kelly said. “I look at every player, and everyone did something to help us win this game. That just speaks to the depth we have.”
The Lumberjacks (1-2) looked to build on their momentum with a game against Queens (N.Y.) on Nov. 22. For a recap of that game, check out JackCentral.com.