CEDAR CITY, Utah – Southern Utah built a double-digit lead early and the Northern Arizona women's basketball team was never able to recover in an eventual 93-59 loss Monday night in Cedar City. The Lumberjacks fell to 3-9 in conference play and 6-15 overall with the loss.
"We have nice pieces to our puzzle physically," said head coach Sue Darling. "We can talk about our offensive ability and defensive ability, but we have to find some guts, heart and courage. We didn't pack that tonight."
After freshman Rene Coggins hit a jumper to bring the score to 9-6, Southern Utah went on a 9-0 run to take an 18-6 lead with 12:45 left in the first half. The lead would grow to as much as 23 points and NAU went into halftime trailing 45-24 after shooting just 32 percent in the opening half.
The Lumberjacks shot 43.8 percent in the second half but was never able to gather enough momentum to cut into the Thunderbirds' advantage significantly. Senior Amanda Frost's layup followed by a three-point play from freshman Brittani Lusain cut the gap to 19 points at 56-37 with at the 14:50 mark, but the Thunderbirds answered with five quick points of their own and they never let their lead slip under 22 the rest of the way.
NAU could not withstand Southern Utah's 64.6 percent performance from the field for the night as it shot just 38.6 percent itself. The Thunderbirds controlled the glass as well, outrebounding the Lumberjacks, 38-23 and they had five players score at least 12 points.
The Lumberjacks also failed to make a three for just the second time this season, as they misfired on all 17 attempts. They went 0-for-11 from long distance in their loss to Montana State on Jan. 4.
Lusain led the Lumberjacks with 18 points, five assists and four steals. Freshman Catelyn Preston made her first start since Jan. 23 and recorded 10 points and five assists. Frost totaled 11 points.
NAU returns home for two games this week, first hosting Portland State for Field Trip Day in the Skydome. Tipoff will be 12 noon on Thursday.