Less than 48 hours removed from their first meeting on New Year’s Eve, NAU squared off with the Idaho Vandals in a weekend matinee at the Rolle Activity Center.
Still without senior guard JJ Nakai, the offensive production had to be in the hands of junior guard Regan Schenck coming off a 23-point performance.
Unlike Thursday, where NAU scored 33 points in the first quarter, the team only imagined to nab 10 points as the Vandals made defensive adjustments to take away NAU’s aggressive transition offense. They weren’t able to attack the basket and settled for 3-point shots instead. The Lumberjacks finished the quarter shooting a paltry 18.2% from the field.
The second quarter became sloppy for both teams and was full of blown layups. NAU missed a handful of floaters from point-blank range and could not capitalize on Idaho’s offensive struggles.
The Lumberjacks went into halftime down 36-22. Freshman guards Nyah and Olivia Moran combined to shoot just 1-for-8 in the first half.
“Today, they played a little bit more like freshmen,” head coach Loree Payne said. “They are going to have their ups and downs. We just need to get them more game experience.”
The third quarter marked the beginning of NAU’s comeback as senior forward Khiarica Rasheed dominated the 10-minute frame. She started with a bucket in the paint, which then opened the floor for her to score from the mid-range, also adding two big 3-pointers to close out a 15-point quarter.
“I’m proud of her, but we got to get her more than eight shot attempts,” Payne said.
In the fourth quarter, Rasheed got into foul trouble with just one shot attempt. She picked up a fifth foul leading to her disqualification with just under two minutes remaining.
The game came down to the wire as NAU cut Idaho’s lead to just one point. With Rasheed on the bench, sophomore forward Emily Rodabaugh picked up the offensive haul with two clutch 3-pointers.
However, when NAU scored, Idaho hit back as senior forward Natalie Klinker dominated in the paint, finishing with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Rebounds were, once again, the Lumberjacks’ Achilles’ heel as they lost the battle on the boards 49-36, allowed 14 offensive rebounds, and gave up 23 second-chance points.
“We let them have too many easy looks off of rebounds,” Payne said. “I want to challenge them to get tougher and to get mad when someone gets an offensive board.”
After fouling out, Rasheed finished the game with a season-high 19 points and five rebounds. Rodabaugh added 12 in the losing effort. Schenck only finished with three points on 1-of-6 shooting in the game after leading the team in scoring.
The Lumberjacks fall to 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in Big Sky Conference play. They will get a five-day break before resuming play Jan. 7 on the road against Idaho State University.