Opponent: Montana State (Thursday, Feb. 9/7:00 p.m.)
Location: Bozeman, Mont.
Opponent: Montana (Saturday, Feb. 11/2:00 p.m.)
Location: Missoula, Mont.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Northern Arizona women's basketball team will look to turn things around on the road this week starting with a Thursday tip-off at Montana State at 7 p.m. The Lumberjacks will then travel to Montana for a Saturday game slated for a 2 p.m. start as the Big Sky Tournament in Reno inches closer in a month.
Follow the Action:
- Both games can be heard for free online at nauathletics.com/wbbradio. The pregame show will start 15 minutes prior to tip-off (6:45 p.m. on Thursday and 1:45 p.m. on Saturday).
- Both games will be streamed for free online at watchbigsky.com.
Robyne Bostick's Opening Thought: "We're pretty positive and we're looking forward to this trip. Hopefully we can get a couple of wins out of it, but we really want to see some steady improvement. If we can do some things better on Thursday that we didn't do as well last Saturday, particularly eliminating necessary fouls, that will be an important step for us. We just want to keep building on that all the way to Reno for the Big Sky Tournament."
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU begins the week with a season-long five-game losing streak after losses to Idaho State (64-51) and Weber State (75-64) at home last week. The Lumberjacks are now 6-16 and 2-9 in the Big Sky with four weeks remaining before the conference tournament. Redshirt junior Olivia Lucero had her best two-game weekend of the season last week, scoring 50 points against Idaho State and Weber State. She scored a season-high 27 points versus the Wildcats. For the season, Lucero is averaging 14.9 points per game, which ranks eighth in the Big Sky. She has tallied a team-best four 20-point games.Sophomore Kaleigh Paplow recorded her first double-double of the season versus Weber State with 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. In conference play, Paplow is averaging 10.2 points per game and is shooting 50.6 percent from the field. Paplow ranks fifth in conference play in field goal percentage.
Scouting Montana State: Montana State - last year's Big Sky regular season champion - was voted to repeat in the preseason Media Poll. The Bobcats were picked third in the Coaches Poll. The Bobcats have won five straight including an overtime 75-69 win over Montana last Saturday. They are currently in sole possession of third place in the conference at 9-2 with an overall record of 16-5. Peyton Ferris was named this week's Big Sky Player of the Week and is the Big Sky's second-leading scorer at 17.6 points per game. The Preseason MVP also ranks sixth in the conference in rebounding with 7.1 boards per game and is shooting 48.3 percent from the field. Riley Nordgaard, the team's second-leading scorer, was also named to the preseason all-conference team. She is averaging 14.4 points per game and ranks fourth in the conference with a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game.
Bostick on Montana State: "Montana State is on a five-game winning streak right now and they're playing with a lot of confidence, especially after being down nine (with two and a half minutes) at Montana and winning in overtime. (Peyton) Ferris and (Riley) Nordgaard are a good one-two combination for them on the offensive end. It's going to be a very physical game."
Scouting Montana: Montana was voted third in the Big Sky Preseason Media Poll and fourth by the league's head coaches. The Lady Griz enter the weekend with an 0-11 Big Sky record and have dropped their last 13 games overall on their way to a 3-19 record. They fell at home, 75-69, to in-state rival Montana State last Saturday in overtime. Taylor Goligowski has stepped up in a major role this season due to the Lady Griz's injuries and is averaging a team-high 11.6 points per game. She has made a team-high 27 three-pointers on the year. McKenzie Johnston leads the team in rebounding (4.7 per game), assists (56) and steals (24) while also averaging 6.7 points per game.
Bostick on Montana: "Montana was hit with some injuries early in the season and they're playing with a young lineup. Those freshmen who are playing, and those who didn't have a lot of experience, have gotten better as the season has come along. They've been in a lot of close games lately and at home with their crowd behind them; it's always a tough place to play."
- NAU and Montana State will be meeting for the 64th time in school history. Montana State leads the all-time series 41-22. Montana State swept the season series last season, 86-77 in overtime at home and 83-72 in Flagstaff.
- NAU and Montana will be meeting for the 65th time in school history. Montana leads the all-time series 53-11. Montana won all three meetings last season including a 78-63 win in Reno in the Big Sky Tournament.
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