The Northern Arizona women’s basketball team rushed out to a 13-0 lead and never trailed in a wire-to-wire 82-65 victory over Montana on Monday night to up their record to 12-17 overall. The win was the Lumberjacks' first in seven years against the Lady Griz.
“Jacey (Bailey) started us off really well and I felt like we played really well offensively tonight,” said head coach Loree Payne. “We found people when they were open and we were really aggressive to the rim. Offensively we’re finding our groove. To have 18 assists and only nine turnovers, that’s a huge piece for us as well.”
Redshirt sophomore Jacey Bailey shot the Lady Griz out of the Walkup Skydome, netting a career-high 31 points. She did so with incredible efficiency, shooting 12 for 15 overall and 7 of 9 from behind the arc. Her .800 field goal percentage is tied for the second-highest single game percentage in program history – minimum 15 attempts – while she also became only the second Lumberjack ever to have two games of at least seven three-pointers made.
“I’m in a good groove and it’s good timing as well because we’re going into the conference tournament,” Bailey said. “We’re feeling really confident after two big wins and we’re excited to play Northern Colorado (on Saturday).”
Bailey’s offensive exploits headlined a lights-out offensive performance by the Lumberjacks. NAU shot 53.2 percent overall and 50 percent from long distance as a team. The Jacks had four players score in double-figures with senior Kaleigh Paplow (15), freshman Regan Schenck (12) and junior Peyton Carroll (12) backing Bailey’s torrid performance.
Montana shot just 34.4 percent and saw its 12-game winning streak against NAU come to an end. NAU last defeated Montana nearly seven years to the day on March 3, 2012.
Coupled with NAU’s victory against Montana State on Saturday, the Lumberjacks knocked off the Bobcats and Lady Griz in the same homestand for the first time since Feb. 22 and 23, 2002.
“We’re playing the basketball we’ve played probably all year,” Paplow said. “Beating both Montanas at home was big for us. We’re playing together as a team right now, so we feel good.”
Paplow, Schenck and Bailey opened with three straight treys as NAU was off and running from the tip-off. The Lumberjacks used their 13-0 game-starting run to snag a 29-10 advantage by the end of the first quarter as they drilled five of their 10 threes. As for Bailey, she had the hot hand from the get-go, scoring 15 points – the most by a Lumberjack in a quarter this season – in the first 10 minutes.
With six minutes left in third quarter, NAU’s lead was down to just five, 49-44. However, NAU proceeded to go on a 13-2 run over the next three and a half minutes to regain a 62-46 lead and the Jacks were never threatened again.
NAU takes a 7-12 conference record into its regular season finale against Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon. The Senior Day tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. as Paplow and Tate Tsingine will play their final home games of their respective careers.
The Northern Arizona men’s basketball team led for over 27 minutes and by as many as nine points, but was unable to hold on down the stretch in a 66-64 road loss at Big Sky Conference leader Montana on Monday night at Dahlberg Arena.
“I thought we played really well and responded once again,” NAU head coach Jack Murphy said. “Obviously you are sick to your stomach that we lost the game. Defensively, I thought it was one of our best efforts of the year. You have to give credit to Montana. They are senior-laden ball club and they made plays at the end.”
The Lumberjacks, who had control for the majority of the contest combining aggressive defense and opportunistic and balanced scoring on the offensive end, led with 4:54 left in regulation, but a 20-6 run over the final 6:30 by the Grizzlies eventually erased a nine-point second-half NAU edge.
Sophomore Carlos Hines had one last shot attempt for the Jacks, but came away empty on a three-point attempt from the top of the key at the final buzzer.
The Lumberjacks had three players finish with double-figure scoring efforts led by Hines, who totaled 18. Freshman Luke Avdalovic and fellow freshman Cameron Shelton each notched 13.
Oguine had a game-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting and added 11 rebounds for the double-double to lead the Grizzlies. Sayeed Pridgett added 14 in the victory.
With the loss, the Lumberjacks fell to 9-20 overall and 7-12 in Big Sky action. Montana improved to 22-7 and 15-3 in the conference.
The Lumberjacks will close out the regular season on Saturday at Northern Colorado. Tip time is slated for 5 p.m.
SWIM AND DIVE
The Northern Arizona swimming and diving team won four of the six events on day four of the Western Athletic Conference Championship to seal its sixth straight championship. The Lumberjacks won with a final score of 772.5 points, with the closest opponent only having 582.
"The coaching staff is extremely proud of all our girls," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "They came in and had the mindset to get better every day. It was never about chasing the championship, but we knew if we worked hard and did everything right the result would be a championship."
Overall, the WAC Championships was a huge success for the team as it won nine individual events throughout and broke four school records. Northern Arizona saw two wins on the boards from Tatiana Kurach and six in the pool, with Elisa Rodriguez and Hope Williams winning two individual titles apiece.
The Lumberjacks' first event of the day was the 1650 freestyle where Monique King recorded a win for the Lumberjacks with a time of 16:28.72. Fellow 'Jack Sam Milewski placed 10th in the event with a time of 17:09.57.
The second race was the 200 backstroke where Fernanda Montiel finished second with a time of 1:59.93.
Rodriguez took first place in the 100 freestyle with a time of 48.90, the fastest in NAU history. Besides Rodriguez, Miranda Nichols placed sixth with a time of 51.07.
The Lumberjack winning streak advanced to two straight events as Williams won the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:14.53.
Fellow NAU swimmer Kate Bier kept the winning streak going as she won the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:59.75. Northern Arizona took the top three spots, along with fifth. Following Bier in the race was Maddie Seidl in second, Niamh McDonagh in third and Andrea Schmidt in fifth.
The final race of the WAC Championship was the 400 freestyle relay, where NAU placed second. Rodriguez, King, Katy Smith, and Nichols completed the event with a time of 3:21.53.
"These amazing results on the weekend are the result of the girls' work and the great coaches I have around me," Johns said. "People like Nikki, Liz and Larry are the reason this program can win year in and year out; these coaches do an incredible job getting the girls better every practice and I can't express my gratitude for them enough."
Junior Chiara Tomasetti continued her scorching start to the spring season, winning both of her matches on Sunday. However, Tomasetti's singles win accounted for the Northern Arizona women's tennis team's lone point in a hard-fought 4-1 loss to Wyoming to conclude their weekend road trip.
"We played a very well-coached team today and came up short," said head coach Ewa Bogusz. "We are only going to learn from it and put in even more work so we can succeed in these type of tough matches in the future."
NAU's record dropped to 4-5 overall.
Tomasetti put the Jacks on the board with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Tessa van Der Ploeg at No. 1 singles. Tomasetti, ranked No. 116 nationally, posted her seventh consecutive straight set victory and ran her record to 8-0 in dual matches this spring.
Tomasetti's win temporarily closed Wyoming's lead to 2-1 before the Cowgirls clinched the match with singles victories at No. 2 and 3. Wyoming picked up the crucial doubles point and snagged a 2-0 advantage with a default win at No. 6 singles.
The Jacks will play New Mexico in Albuquerque at 1 p.m. this Friday.