Opponent: Portland State (Thursday, Feb. 13/12:00 p.m.)
Opponent: Eastern Washington (Saturday Feb. 15/6:30 p.m.)
Location: Walkup Skydome - Flagstaff, Ariz.
Live Stats: www.nauathletics.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Returning home after a tough loss at Southern Utah on Monday, the Northern Arizona women's basketball team returns home for a pair of games to close out the week. The Lumberjacks will host Portland State, looking for the season sweep, on Thursday at 12 p.m. and will then welcome in Eastern Washington to the Walkup Skydome on Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff. NAU enters Thursday's game one win behind Portland State for ninth place in the Big Sky standings.
The Lumberjacks dropped their third consecutive game, 93-59, to the Thunderbirds Monday night in Cedar City. Southern Utah shot 64.6 percent from the field and held Northern Arizona to 38.6 percent shooting. Freshman Brittani Lusain led the Lumberjacks with 18 points and five assists while equaling her career-high with four steals. Senior Amanda Frost tallied 11 points and freshman Catelyn Preston added 10 points. NAU failed to make a three-pointer for just the second time this season in the loss.
Series History: NAU defeated Portland State, 88-67, on Jan. 18 in one of its best shooting performances of the season. The Lumberjacks shot 66.7 percent in the first half and put up 57 first half points, their highest scoring half of the season, and finished the game at 53.3 percent. Amanda Frost scored a game-high 28 points and missed her first double-double with a career-high nine assists. Erikka Banks recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Rene Coggins scored 11 points. NAU snapped its seven-game losing streak to the Vikings and have a narrow 20-18 all-time edge.
The Lumberjacks lost to Eastern Washington, 92-68, on Jan. 16 despite a game-high 29 points from Frost. The Lumberjacks struggled offensively shooting just 32.2 percent for the game and fell behind by 19 points at halftime. NAU cut its deficit in the second half from 28 to 17 with under six minutes remaining, but would not get any closer. Brittani Lusain scored 15 points off the bench and Coggins and Banks each had nine points. Eastern Washington leads the all-time series 32-24 after the win and has won three of the last four in Flagstaff.
Promotions: Thursday's game will be Field Trip Day in the Skydome with youth from local schools attending. In conjunction with Field Trip Day, Sodexo will offer $5 meal deals for all fans. Saturday's game will be National Girls & Women in Sports Day with a pregame meet and greet with NAU student-athletes. NGWSD posters will be distributed, the NGWSD youth clinic participants will be honored at halftime and there will be a postgame autograph session.
TV Coverage: Both games will be televised by NAU-TV and broadcasted live on Fox Sports Arizona. Thursday's game will also be televised live on Fox College Sports Pacific. The games will be shown live locally in Flagstaff on Suddenlink cable Channel 4 and online on the NAU-TV live web stream.
Coach Sue Darling Quote of the Week: "We have to figure out who we are and we're still trying to find our way, so it's been frustrating. But at the end of the day, when I look them in the eye I still see a fire and great hope. I give credit to Southern Utah the other night and they wanted it more than we did. We're in a rough spot right now, but there's still plenty of hope and plenty of time and we're going to get it done."
About Portland State (6-15, 4-8 Big Sky): Portland State's loss to NAU on Jan. 18 was the first of a five-game losing streak that the Vikings halted last Saturday at home versus Montana State. The Vikings are coming off a 72-61 victory over the Bobcats and is currently in ninth, one spot ahead of the Lumberjacks, in the Big Sky standings at 4-8 in the conference.
Sophomore Emily Easom scored a career-high 27 points in Portland State's win over Montana State and has five games of at least 20 points. She leads the team with 12.0 points per game and is one of four players averaging at least 10 points per game. Senior Allie Brock is second on the team with 11.8 points per game and she posted 16 points in the first meeting between the two teams in Portland, a total that was equaled by junior Lariel Powell. The Vikings shot 50 percent against the Lumberjacks last month.
About Eastern Washington (11-10, 7-5 Big Sky): Eastern Washington heads into the weekend after a perfect homestand last week with wins over Montana State and Montana. The Eagles defeated the Bobcats, 81-66, and followed that with a 71-61 win over the Lady Griz. to extend their win streak to three games. They are currently in a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference at 7-5.
Junior Lexie Nelson leads the Eagles with 16.7 points and she was one of three players in double-figures in the first meeting in Cheney last month. Nelson scored 21 points along with sophomore Hayley Hodgins who scored 26 and senior Laura Hughes who scored 20. Hughes is second on the team at 13.4 points per game and Hodgins is third at 13.1 points per game. Hughes finished one rebound shy of a double-double in the victory. The Eagles shot 51.6 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three-point range against the Lumberjacks.
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