Still without veteran leaders in senior guard Lauren Orndoff, redshirt junior guard Nina Radford and senior forward Khiarica Rasheed, the NAU women’s basketball team had a tough task ahead of them Sunday afternoon as they took on a top-10 team in the No. 7-ranked University of Arizona.
The task proved too much for the Lumberjacks as they lost 76-63 to their in-state rivals.
The first quarter saw NAU give the fight to Arizona as the teams exchanged the lead back-and-forth. Senior guard and Nevada transfer Miki’ala Maio debuted for the Lumberjacks and quickly made an impact with six points while displaying efficient transition offense.
Similar to the season opener, sophomore wing Emily Rodabaugh opened the game at a fast pace with eight points.
However, the NAU offense stalled in the second quarter as they shot a poor 15% from the field.
The Wildcats took advantage with the help of junior guard Cate Reese as she dominated in the paint and scored 15 points in the half while shooting 7-of-10.
The third quarter did the Lumberjacks in as turnovers piled up and Arizona scored nine fast break points off of those errors. The Wildcats went on to score 31 points in the quarter thanks to a trio of 3-pointers from senior guard Aari McDonald.
NAU closed the gap in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback as they fell short by 13, in part, due to 15 turnovers in the game.
Senior guard JJ Nakai led the way in the losing effort for NAU as she scored 17 points. Senior wing Jacey Bailey and Rodabaugh scored 14 points each. Maio finished the game with eight points.
For Arizona, Reese closed the deal with 21 points while shooting 9-of-13. McDonald added 18 points in the win.
NAU falls to 1-1 on the season and will head into Big Sky Conference play Dec. 3 against the Eastern Washington Eagles.