FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's basketball team fought until the end with their backs against the wall, but could not ultimately overcome a three-point deficit with 1:15 to play. Idaho State pulled out a nail biter, 72-65, Thursday night in the Skydome in a pivotal Big Sky Conference matchup for both teams. The Lumberjacks fell to 9-17 overall and 6-11 in league play and will need to win out to keep their postseason hopes alive.
"Everything we do is based off our effort and energy and when we bring it, we can play phenomenally," said head coach Sue Darling. "If we want to be a championship team, we have to deliver in games like this, so we have to figure out how to play with a little pressure on us. We're getting better at that and we came up short on this one. We're going to get three (wins) the hard way from here."
Senior Amanda Frost scored a game-high 28 points to move within two points of the 1,000 career point mark and junior Raven Anderson recorded her first double-double of the season with 23 points and 13 rebounds. However, the Lumberjacks struggled to get production elsewhere as the rest of the team combined for just 14 points.
Despite NAU's offensive struggles at times, the Lumberjacks went into halftime down just 35-31 following an important 8-2 run to close out the half. The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 12-6 lead through the first five and a half minutes, but the Bengals seized control and eventually took the only double-digit lead of the game at 33-23 with 3:36 left in the half. Sparked by six points from Frost, the Lumberjacks closed the gap before the half and a layup by Frost to open the second half got NAU within 35-33.
Freshman Brittani Lusain converted on a look at the rim to tie the game at 41-all five minutes into the second half, but the Bengals pushed their lead out to nine points over the next five minutes. NAU got within two with 5:28 remaining and on two more occasions, the last with 2:31 left following two made free throws by Frost. Anderson's layup got the Lumberjacks to 68-65 with a little over a minute left, but the Idaho State's Lindsey Reed finished the game going 4-of-6 in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.
"All I thought about all day was how we were going to get the win tonight and there was no doubt in my mind from the tip that we weren't going to win," Anderson said. "I carried that mentality through in the game until the last buzzer."
The Lumberjacks shot just 37.7 percent from the field in the game, while the Bengals shot 49 percent. The difference in the game came from behind the arc though as the Bengals shot 47.4 percent from long distance compared to NAU's 17.6 percent making six more threes than the Lumberjacks.
Frost shot 10-of-20 for the game and sits at 998 career points heading into her final home game of her career on Saturday. One game after Anderson notched her first 20-point game last Saturday, she reset her career-high with 23 points and came up one rebound shy of her career-best with a season-high 13 rebounds.
NAU wraps up its home schedule with Weber State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the Walkup Skydome. The Lumberjacks will honor their lone senior, Frost, prior to the game as part of the Senior Day festivities.