Opponent: Portland State (Monday, March 6/6:35 p.m.)
Location: Reno, Nev.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The month of March is all about playing your basketball at the right time, and that is exactly what the Northern Arizona women's basketball team is doing going into the Big Sky Tournament. The Lumberjacks, winners of three of their last five, will play Portland State in the opening round on Monday at 6:35 p.m. Arizona time in the Reno Events Center. NAU is the No. 10 seed while Portland State is the No. 7 seed.
The Lumberjacks have dropped their last five conference tournament games dating back to 2007. However, NAU successfully turned around a season in which it had dropped seven consecutive games prior to its current run to close the regular season. In addition, although the Lumberjacks dropped both season games to the Vikings, both games were decided by a single point including an overtime 74-73 loss on Senior Day less than two weeks ago.
Follow the Action:
- Monday's game will be broadcasted live on Hits 106.1 FM with Stayson Isobe and Mitch Strohman on the call. The pregame show will start 30 minutes prior to tip-off at 6:05 p.m.
- Monday's game will be streamed for free online at watchbigsky.com.
Robyne Bostick's Opening Thought: "I feel pretty good about where we are right now. The last few weeks, we've been playing better and starting to take advantage of some things offensively. Defensively, we've improved and we had a really good defensive performance against Idaho this past week. We hope to carry that into Monday's game."
Previewing The 'Jacks: NAU concluded the regular season with a 9-19 overall record and a 5-13 conference record. The Lumberjacks won three of their final five games after dropping a season-worst seven straight. The 'Jacks went on the road and defeated Idaho, 76-61, to start the final week of regular season play before falling to Eastern Washington, 79-64. Senior Rene Coggins led the Lumberjacks with 13.5 points per game in the two games versus Portland State this season, and overall this season is NAU's second-leading scorer at 11.5 points per game. She has made a team-best 57 three-pointers. Redshirt junior Olivia Lucero finished the regular season as NAU's leading scorer at 14.8 points per game, ninth in the conference, and was voted to the All-Big Sky Third Team marking her first career all-conference honor. Freshman Raina Perez finished the season strong averaging 16.4 points per game in her final seven contests, all of which she started. Perez was NAU's second-leading scorer in conference play at 11.9 points per game - tops amongst the Big Sky's freshmen. In the final six games of the season, sophomore Kaleigh Paplow was on a rebounding tear, averaging 9.5 boards per game.
Scouting Portland State: Portland State wrapped up the seventh seed in this week's Big Sky Tournament by knocking off North Dakota, 81-67, in the final game of the regular season. The Vikings also knockded the Fighting Hawks out of top spot, and responded from a 57-50 loss to Northern Colorado two nights prior. Portland State finished the regular season with a 14-16 overall record and 8-10 mark in league play. Sidney Rielly and Ashley Bolston, ranked fifth and sixth respectively in the conference in scoring, leads the Vikings. Rielly is averaging 16.0 points per game on 53.2 percent shooting, while Bolston is averaging 15.9 points per game and is second in the conference with 4.8 assists per game. Courtney West gives the Vikings a third double-digit scorer at 10.5 points per game. She is shooting 52.9 percent from the field and leads the Big Sky by a wide margin in blocks at 2.8 per game.
Bostick on Portland State: "Both of our losses to Portland State were different games. The first one was a low scoring game, while we didn't have problems finding the basket the second time. For Monday, we have to figure out to defend their perimeter game while also stopping them inside. They have a big backcourt and a big front line, so we'll have to work on handling their size in practice."
- NAU and Portland State will be meeting for the 45th time in school history. NAU leads the all-time series 23-21, and won the only previous Big Sky Tournament meeting in 2006. Portland State won both meetings this season, 56-55 on Jan. 16, 2017 at home and 74-73 in overtime on Feb. 25, 2017 in Flagstaff.
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