Women’s basketball stays dominant at home, wins first tourney
By Shakina Washington and Travis Guy
The NAU women’s basketball team added to their trophy collection over the holiday weekend by winning the Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic, improving to 4–3 on the season.
“We’re coming together, slowly but surely,” said junior shooting guard Amy Patton.
The women are currently undefeated at home, and plan on staying unbeaten in the Rolle Activity Center.
“We are trying to get the mentality that [for] people coming into our gym, it’s going to be hard to win, in our mind,” said head coach Laurie Kelly. “We want to become a team that wins all their games at home.”
The ladies closed the weekend with a victory over the Golden Flashes of Kent State, 72–56.
Kent State (KSU) committed 31 turnovers through the game, including 18 in the first half, giving NAU 30 more attempts at the bucket than the Golden Flashes.
Patton led the team with 14 points and eight boards, and combined with her 17 points and 12 rebounds from the previous game against Utah Valley, earned tournament MVP honors. Joining Patton on the awards floor was junior center Aubrey Davis. Davis was named to the All-Classic team by tallying 16 points and 11 rebounds during the weekend.
Senior small forward Caty Huntington and sophomore shooting guard Amanda Frost added nine buckets apiece to help the Lumberjacks past the Golden Flashes.
The Lumberjacks began the tournament with a victory over the Wolverines of Utah Valley, 73–59.
After getting injured in the exhibition game against Azusa Pacific, junior shooting forward Tyler Stephens-Jenkins made her return for NAU. Stephens-Jenkins scored 13 points, Patton garnered 17 and Davis notched 10, lifting the Jacks past the Wolverines.
“Amy’s line was about as good as you could probably get, and getting Tyler back is obviously huge for us,” Kelly said. “Our inside play from Aubrey Davis and Shay May was great as well, and we just played good team basketball to get the win.”
NAU played strong from the beginning, keeping its lead the majority of the first half. The Jacks scored 36 points, grabbed 22 rebounds, eight steals and 10 assists through the first.
“We thought we would get the lead then give it up,” Davis said. “We wanted to get the lead for sure.”
NAU grabbed 44 rebounds, 26 defensive, but a majority of their fouls were under the basket.
“They like to grab,” Patton said. “I know coach is going to work with the posts on that at practice.”
In the second half, the Lumberjacks scored 37 points and converted 43.3 percent of their shots. They also held the Wolverines to 26 points in the second.
The Jacks shot 10–19 from the free-throw line, making 56 percent of their shots, compared to 75 and 74 percent from their first two games.
“That’s easy to fix,” Davis said. “Just get in the gym and practice.”