Women’s basketball remains winless on the road, drops close game to San Jose
The road woes continued for the NAU women’s basketball team (4–4) as it fell to the San Jose State Spartans (1–6) 74–64 in San Jose on Thursday night. The Lumberjacks fell to 0–4 on the road, as the Spartans earned their first win of the season.
“I just felt like we probably took them for granted. I don’t think we came in with the intensity that we needed, credit goes to San Jose,” said head coach Laurie Kelly. “They made plays down the line; they made shots when they needed to. They played with a lot more heart than we did tonight, and that’s disappointing.”
After dominating San Jose State (SSU) 12–1 on the boards in the game’s opening minutes, including three offensive rebounds resulting in a layup by sophomore forward Trinidee Trice, NAU led 30–19 with a minute remaining the opening half.
The Lumberjacks shot 46 percent in the first half and held the Spartans to 20 percent. NAU also held a 24–11 rebounding advantage at the break. But the Spartans closed on a 5–0 run and carried that momentum into the second half.
“You look at how well they shot the ball in the second half (61.9 percent), they couldn’t miss,” said Kelly. “We really struggled one-on-one defensively, which we had done a really good job of in the first half.”
“Just look at the points allowed, one half giving up 24 points to giving up 50 points in the second.”
The Lumberjacks only managed to shoot 31 percent in the second half and as a result, the Spartans finished the game ahead in shooting percentage, 39 percent to 38 percent.
But the real difference maker came as a result of San Jose State’s pressure on defense. The Spartans forced NAU into a season high 32 turnovers and stole the ball 23 times.
The Spartans also forced the issue offensively, drawing 27 fouls by the Lumberjacks which resulted in 45 free-throw attempts and SSU converting 33 of them. NAU only managed to shoot 9–14 from the line.
While Lumberjacks’ leading scorer Amy Patton struggled on the night, going scoreless on 0–8 shooting, sophomore center Shay May had a break-out performance.
May shot 6-of-9 for a career high 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her first career double-double.
Junior forward Tyler Stephens-Jenkins, who returned during Thanksgiving from a knee injury suffered against Azusa Pacific, shot 5-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three, for a team high 15 points.
San Jose State senior guard Sara Plavljanin led all scorers with 26 points on 5–12 shooting from the field, including 4-of-7 from three, and hit 12–12 from the line.
The Lumberjacks return home to face Cal State Fullerton at 2:05 p.m. Sunday at the Rolle Activity center.
“We play a very good Fullerton team on Sunday afternoon, so we don’t really have a lot of time to dwell on this,” said Kelly. “We got to figure it out and we need to come back and get on the winning track against Fullerton.”