Road losing streak reaches eleven as women’s basketball blown out in Washington
A vital four-game road trip began in Cheney, Wash. On Thursday night, the NAU women’s basketball team fell to the Eastern Washington University Eagles (EWU) and remained win-less on the road this season.
As the Big Sky Conference’s (BSC) second place team, the Eagles (14–9, 8–2 BSC) took care of business and beat the Lumberjacks (7–15, 2–8 BSC) 84–58.
“The number one thing you can look at is we just didn’t play hard enough,” said head coach Laurie Kelly. “It really doesn’t matter what you’re running offensively or defensively. If you play as hard as or harder than your opponent, then that’s how you’re going to win games.”
The Lumberjacks looked as if they would hang with the Eagles and senior wing Brianne Ryan, the conference’s leading scorer, taking an early 4–0 lead before Ryan responded with seven points during an 11–0 Eagle run.
Ryan, who averages 18.5 points a game, finished with 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting, including 3-of-7 from outside for EWU. She added six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
After falling behind 15–6, six minutes into the game, the Lumberjacks battled to 20–18 with sophomore center Shay May at the free throw line looking to tie the score at 20.
However, May connected on only one of the two free throws and the Eagles answered with a 12–0 run to make it 32–19. From there on, the Lumberjacks trailed by double digits for all but 42 seconds of the game’s remaining 25 minutes and dropped to 0–11 on the road this season.
“It’s very frustrating because we are a different team on the road and I don’t know what it is,” said junior center Aubrey Davis, who scored a team-high 11 points and grabbed five rebounds. “We just don’t come out of the gates ready to go or anything.”
Despite the disappointing outcome, the Lumberjacks potentially have lost something much more significant. Senior point guard Caty Huntington left the game mid-way through the first half after having her knee rolled on by one of EWU’s players.
Huntington, who has started at point guard in 21 of NAU’s 22 games, is questioning Saturday’s game in Portland, as is Kelly.
“It’s too early to know, we will have to wait and see obviously,” Kelly said.
If Huntington were to miss significant time, freshman point guard Jasmine Sneed could be asked to play an increased role. Sneed scored two points on 1-of-2 shooting in 11 minutes, but totaled five turnovers.
“Jasmine Sneed had to play a lot of minutes and she struggled with pressure in the first half,” Kelly said. “I always tell people, ‘You never know when your opportunity comes and you’re either prepared for it or you’re not,’ so it’s a challenge for anybody to be ready to do that.”
For the season, Sneed has averaged 9.5 minutes a game in 10 games played. In those games, she averaged 1.3 points, 1.3 steals and two turnovers a game.
“It’s a little tough because I do understand that I am new to this as a freshman and of course I have to step up because Hunt is hurt,” Sneed said. “But it’s something I have to do and grow up a little bit.”
The Lumberjacks now move on to face the Portland State University Vikings (12-9, 4-5 BSC) at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday in Portland. With the Vikings currently holding the sixth and final spot in the conference tournament, the Lumberjacks face a must-win to keep their post-season hopes alive.