NAU women’s basketball hold on in overtime win
BY CODY BASHORE —
With Big Sky Conference tournament hopes dwindling with every loss, and the careers’ of the team’s four seniors nearing an end, the Northern Arizona University (NAU) women’s basketball team took a step in the right direction with an 64–60 overtime win against to the University of North Dakota (UND).
After UND (10-15, 5-11 BSC) hit a 3-pointer to open the overtime scoring, NAU rattled off a 7–0 run to close out the game thanks to a pair of jumpers by senior center Aubrey Davis and another by senior guard Amy Patton.
“At this point in the season, our focus is on playing well,” head coach Sue Darling said. “At the end of the day, we made free throws that counted, we made shots that counted, we got defensive stops that counted and that’s what counts.”
UND struggled in the extra frame, hitting only 1-of-7 shots. The discrepancy in shooting percentage was a constant throughout the game, as NAU finished at 38 percent while UND hit 30 percent.
The win moved NAU (7-16, 6-9 BSC) into a tie for the seventh and final conference tournament spot, tied with Southern Utah University (SUU). However, with a pair of wins against SUU, NAU would be in if the tournament began today.
The game remained close throughout, with the schools tied at 28 heading into halftime. The Lumberjacks built up a five point lead with a little more than three minutes remaining, but UND hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left to tie the game at 57, sending it to overtime.
“Its a little pressure just because we are in the thick of things… so every game matters,” Patton said. “We just stuck it out, stuck together and got the win.”
Patton finished with 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while also grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Sophomore forward Erikka Banks topped a career-high in points scored, totaling 18 and also grabbing a career-high nine rebounds. Banks tied her career-high of 12 points in the first half alone.
“Coach wanted us to attack so that was my mindset before the game. Just attack… and get to the rim,” Banks said.
The sophomore also reached the free throw line 15 times, hitting 10 of her attempts.
“I think she is the best (power forward) in the conference. The girl is so quick, I have to guard her in practice and I hate guarding her in practice,” Patton said of Banks. “It helped us out so much and hopefully she can continue to do the same thing.”
In total, only five players scored for the Lumberjacks. Davis added 15 points of her own and junior guard Amanda Frost contributed 11.
After shooting a miserable 1-of-15 from 3-point range on Feb. 14 against the University of Northern Colorado, the Lumberjacks followed up that with another awful performance from outside, shooting 1-of-13. Combined for the two games in Rolle Activity Center this past week, the Lumberjacks shot 2-of-28 for seven percent.
The Lumberjacks now have off until Feb. 23 when they host Sacramento State back in the Walkup Skydome.