The Northern Arizona women's basketball team started fast, but Cal Poly withstood the early flurry from the Lumberjacks on the way to a 89-73 win Saturday afternoon in Rolle Activity Center.
The Lumberjacks fell to 3-5 with the loss.
"It was a tough one today," said Lumberjacks head coach Loree Payne. "I felt our team lacked energy and effort. A lot of times when you come off a big win, you can have a letdown. There were moments when I didn't recognize this team offensively or defensively. We're asking for more consistency night in and night out."
Juniors Kaleigh Paplow and Tate Tsingine and redshirt senior Olivia Lucero combined for 16 of NAU's 22 first-quarter points as the Lumberjacks landed the first blow on the Mustangs. The three players accounted for all 11 points in an 11-3 run that gave the Lumberjacks their largest lead of the game, 20-10, with 1:23 remaining in the period.
However, after a 10-for-18 start from the field, the Lumberjacks struggled to find an offensive rhythm the rest of the game. NAU shot only 36.2 percent through the final three quarters. Meanwhile, the same could not be said for Cal Poly, which shot 58.3 percent after the opening frame. Cal Poly finished the game with a 50.7 field goal percentage, while NAU was at 41.5 percent.
An 11-4 start by Cal Poly to the second quarter erased NAU's lead, but the Mustangs led just 40-38 at halftime. The turning point in the game came over a minute-and-a-half span in the third quarter when a Cal Poly 6-0 spurt turned a four-point game into a 52-42 lead with 6:32 left in the period.
A pair of Paplow free throws brought the Lumberjacks within seven at 59-52 with two minutes remaining in the quarter, but a layup and a 3- pointer -- Cal Poly's fourth of the third quarter -- provided the visitors with a 12-point lead going into the fourth and they led by double digits throughout the final 10 minutes.
Paplow led the Lumberjacks with her second double-double of the season, recording 16 points and 10 boards. Freshman Lauren Orndoff scored 13 points with Lucero and Tsingine chipping in 11 apiece.
Lucero had a nice all-around game, also tallying seven rebounds and seven assists. Tsingine made three 3s off the bench in her best offensive showing of the season.
Cal Poly outrebounded NAU, 42-35, and recorded 14 second-chance points to just eight by the Lumberjacks. On the plus side, spearheaded by Lucero, the Lumberjacks recorded 18 assists on 27 made baskets.
The Lumberjacks will play their final home nonconference game against in-state rival Grand Canyon Thursday at noon in Rolle. It will be NAU's fifth annual Field Trip Day game, targeting local youth from the Flagstaff Unified School District.