The Lumberjacks started the game as they took on the Sacramento State University (SSU) Hornets Feb. 16. Both teams traded baskets and fouls throughout the game, keeping the pressure up on both sides of the court as the NAU came out with a close 71-69 win Saturday afternoon.
Turning Point With less than ten seconds left on the clock, NAU senior forward Kaleigh Paplow took the go-ahead shot and made the game winning jumper leaving virtually no time left on the clock for NAU to take the win against the Hornets.
Prime Performers The Lumberjacks have struggled to find ways to prevent turnovers this past season. NAU found their solution Saturday holding themselves to three turnovers in the first quarter and SSU to five points off turnovers, making their presence known early in this game as they finished the first quarter tied 19-19 against the Hornets.
With a little under three minutes left in the game, it was neck and neck as the Lumberjacks equalized the game with a free throw from sophomore forward Khiarica Rasheed.
In an effective defensive effort by Rasheed, NAU found themselves with the ball and under 10 seconds left in the game. The Lumberjacks made use of the time they had left in the game before handing the ball to Paplow who made the game winning jumper to take the lead.
Paplow finished the night with 21 points and 7 rebounds on the night in a thriller win over SSU 71-69.
Quotes “Not a lot of players, in their career, get those opportunities to make a [game-winning shot],” said head coach Loree Payne. “I am super happy for [Paplow]. Everything that she has poured into this program. For her to knock down the shot to lead her team to victory is a special moment.”
What’s Next? With the win, NAU is 9-15 on the season and 5-10 in the Big Sky Conference. The Lumberjacks head back on the road for the last two away games against University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho Feb. 21 and Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington Feb. 23.