NAU women’s basketball returns home to win in overtime
BY RAYMOND REID —
Throughout this season, the NAU women’s basketball team has played games that have tugged at heart strings. Their past two contests, against the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds at home Feb. 4 and at the Sacramento State University Hornets Jan. 31, were no different. The Lumberjacks pulled out a close one against the Thunderbirds 76–74 in overtime and fell to the Hornets 73–67.
“It’s a great day to be a Lumberjack,” said head coach Sue Darling. “Winning is fun and that was a fun one. I was really proud of our entire team … we got stops when we needed them. We hit a clutch shot at the end. Really, a clutch pass that led to a clutch shot.”
The Jacks squared off against the Thunderbirds in a game that could very well have playoff tiebreaker implications when the dust settles. The Jacks also defeated the Thunderbirds in Cedar City, Utah during their first matchup on Jan. 3.
The Lumberjacks played a game similar to this against Portland State. However the game ended in a heartbreaker in the final seconds with the game tied. This time around, the Jacks pulled the victory out.
With 4.2 seconds left in overtime, senior guard Amy Patton found junior guard Amanda Frost wide open under the basket for the go-ahead lay in. It was Patton’s ninth assist of the game, setting a new career-high.
“If my shots aren’t falling I try to contribute in other ways, tonight my passing was it,” Patton said. “I heard everyone screaming Amanda and I saw her and her eyes got so big. She makes that all the time … she made it and we got the win.”
All five starters finished in double figures for the Jacks, seniors Amy Patton, Aubrey Davis, Tyler Stephens-Jenkins and Paige Haynes all recorded 19, 14, 16 and 15 respectively and junior Amanda Frost chipped in 12. The scoring output was Haynes’ career-high.
“We worked well as a team and we played our game,” Frost said. “We told ourselves we weren’t going to lose this game again. Our coach Jamie (Shadian) said we weren’t clutch at the end (of Portland State) and this time we came up big.”
This victory vaulted the Jacks into a tie with Southern Utah in seventh place, also owning the tiebreaker over the Thunderbirds. If the season ended today, the Jacks would be in the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the first time in the careers’ of the seniors.
A week ago the Jacks faced off against the Hornets, a notoriously high-scoring team. The Lumberjacks would fall down 19 points in the first half before mounting a season-best 39–19 run to take the lead. The effort would prove to be just short as the Hornets had just enough to escape with the six point victory. Frost led all scorers with 18 and Patton contributed 14 points.
The next action for the Jacks will be Feb. 7 on the road against Portland State, where the Lumberjacks will look to enact revenge on the Vikings for the heartbreaker in the Skydome, followed by Feb. 9 at Eastern Washington.