Women’s basketball looks to the past season to improve this season
The NAU women’s basketball team will start their season with an exhibition game against Azusa Pacific on Nov. 4.
“I expect it to be a challenge but I expect to win,” said head coach Laurie Kelly.
Although this game does not have any influence on the team’s ranking, they are taking it very seriously.
In the 2010-2011 season, the Lumberjacks ended with a record of 11–18, with over twice as many wins as the previous season.
This past season’s four seniors, Jenna Galloway, Vickie Toney, Tiffany Amos and Melisa Spaich, have graduated. Galloway averaged five points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game. Toney shot an average of 4.1 points per game and 2.7 rebounds. Despite the loss of these players, the team remains optimistic.
“I feel like we added just as much as we lost,” said junior shooting guard Amy Patton. “The defense is a lot higher and I think that it’s going to be good.” The team currently has 16 players, including six freshmen.
In order to learn from past mistakes, the team watches videos of the games they have played and practice ways to fix them.
“We watch a lot of film to watch our mistakes,” said junior point guard Paige Haynes. “She [coach Kelly] can show us exactly what we’re doing wrong and [how] we can improve those things.”
One major component of the team remains the same: leading scorer Patton. She averaged 16.4 points per game this past year, leading the Big Sky in scoring and ranking No. 80 in the NCAA Division I. She also averaged two steals and 1.8 3-pointers per game.
The Jacks will play 31 games this season. Big Sky Conference play will start Dec. 29 and consists of 16 games. More than half of the conference games are at home, so there are multiple chances for fans to see them play.
NAU opens their conference play against Sacramento State. The Lumberjacks have only dropped two of their last 10 games against the Hornets, winning last season’s contest 82–77.
Their second Big Sky game is against the Northern Colorado Bears, a team that NAU lost to by 14 points in the past season.
“I feel like every team’s our biggest competition,” Patton said. “Any team could be just as good as another one.”
Players and coaches have been working hard to get ready for the upcoming season.
“We fix those areas, watch some film and see what game shape we are in,” coach Kelly said.