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Northern Arizona Women's Basketball Wins Defensive Battle Over Eastern Washington

Northern Arizona Women's Basketball Wins Defensive Battle Over Eastern Washington

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Northern Arizona women's basketball took an early lead and held on for a victory against Eastern Washington on Saturday. Junior forward Emily Rodabaugh scored five of NAU's first eight points, while senior guard Regan Schenck added two more baskets.

Montana Oltrogge had a double-double for the Lumberjacks with 19 points and 12 rebounds, as well as drawing four fouls.

1. Emily Rodabaugh's Three-Point Barrage

Rodabaugh, who has hit at least one three-pointer in four of her last five games, hit two in the opening minute of the second quarter to help the Lumberjacks stay ahead of Eastern Washington. Her first came off a pass from Regan Schenck that forced a timeout for the Eagles; then her second after she got a steal and dished to Oltrogge on the same play, came with 40 seconds remaining in the half.

After a slow start to the game, NAU outscored Eastern Washington by six points in the second quarter and took a 38-31 lead at halftime - their closest lead since taking an early five-point lead during their 83-74 victory at Boise State last Friday.

Last Thursday, NAU's defense, which had collapsed in a 69-64 defeat at Idaho State, was even more effective against the Vandals. EWU made six of 16 shots from three-point range but was limited to just 11-of-34 shooting overall.

Beyonce Bea led the Vandals with 22 points, hitting six of seven free throws and pulling down six rebounds. Additionally, she blocked three shots and grabbed six rebounds for a team-high six rebounds.

Bea, who has started all 24 games for the Vandals this season, is the Big Sky leading scorer and field goal percentage leader. She's also the top rebounder and second in blocks within the conference.

After Bea's initial three-pointer, the Vandals took an early 12-4 lead in the opening 5:15 of the second quarter. But NAU battled back, getting baskets from Oltrogge and Schenck before its conclusion; ultimately taking a 39-39 advantage on Emily Jaiteh's layup with 4:33 remaining in the halftime break.

In the third quarter, NAU outscored Idaho 21-9 to take a commanding 58-54 lead. That would remain unchanged until Idaho finished off the quarter on an 13-0 run to extend their advantage to 62-54.

NAU battled hard in the fourth quarter but could not gain enough ground to tie or take control of the lead, ultimately falling 77-69 to Eastern Washington in overtime. This is NAU's second overtime loss against Eastern Washington this season.

2. Emily Oltrogge's 8-0 Run

After a first half that was somewhat tense, NAU turned the tables in the second quarter. Trailing by five with 3:27 remaining in the third, the Lumberjacks put together an incredible 9-0 run to take their first lead of the game with just over two minutes remaining.

Emily Oltrogge ignited the run with three three-pointers and six assists during the final 3:27 of regulation time. She finished with a team-high 14 points, pushing her career total past 1,000 points for the first time ever.

NAU went on to win 78-75 in Boise, Idaho and moved within half a game of first place in the Big Sky with an 18-9 record. Eastern Washington is now 14-0 in conference play and looks like they could clinch at least one share of the conference regular-season title with victory against Northern Colorado on Saturday in Cheney, Utah.

As the lead began to slip away in the third, NAU maintained their defensive stand. They held the Eagles to just 1-of-28 shooting and outrebounded them 42-22.

NAU's defense played well throughout the game, but especially well in the fourth quarter. They limited Philadelphia to just 2-of-18 shooting from three-point range during that period and their subsequent free throws were perfect.

Oltrogge had a big night, entering the game as the conference leader in rebounding with 803 total rebounds this season. Her 14-point performance matched Regan Schenck for most rebounds in a single game and marked her sixth consecutive double-figure effort in Big Sky games.

The Lumberjacks also excelled on the offensive boards, boasting 53 rebounds - their most in a single game this year and 17 points off Montana's 23 turnovers, which set a program high.

The Lumberjacks are now 7-4 in league play and have a chance to sweep their season series against Montana State on Thursday in Flagstaff. Their record against Sacramento State stands at 10-2; their other Big Sky matchup is against Portland State on Saturday in Boise.

3. Emily Schenck's Steady Defense

On Saturday in Cheney, Washington, the NAU women's basketball team put up a great defensive fight to earn an impressive 96-89 victory against Eastern Washington. Trailing by six points with 10:26 remaining in regulation time, NAU came back with an 8-0 run to take control of the game with 3:27 remaining. Although Eastern Washington led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, NAU outscored them 21-22 in the fourth to tie things up at 80 all. In overtime however, New Mexico University outscored NAU 16-9 which proved to be the difference in this one for them.

Throughout the game, Philadelphia held Northern Arizona to just three field goals and went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line in overtime. It was an impressive offensive effort for the Eagles, who also outrebounded Northern Arizona 53-29.

In the second half, EWU only shot 25.7 percent from the floor and their defense held them scoreless for nearly four minutes. With 9:39 remaining in the fourth, however, the Eagles tied the game at 62-62 - but that would be their last score in that frame.

NAU's defense did a superb job of keeping the Eagles without a basket for over four minutes, an unusual occurrence in the Big Sky Conference. Furthermore, NAU's offense found some rhythm at key moments as they outscored their rival 27-12 in the third quarter.

Schenck's defense was a key factor in NAU's defensive success. She was able to prevent many potential three-pointers from falling by stepping out of the way and allowing her to follow the ball down in the paint.

NAU was able to force a turnover on Nyah Moran's potential game-winning three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining in regulation, giving them their 13th lead change of the game - an historic milestone for NAU.

NAU women's basketball team is now 15-1 this season with a 2-0 Big Sky record. Their 12-game winning streak is the second-longest active streak in America, behind Florida Atlantic's 20-game run.

4. Emily Jaiteh's Three-Point Barrage

After falling behind early, NAU battled back and defeated Eastern Washington in a defensive contest. The Lumberjacks limited the Eagles to just nine field goals while taking control of the rebounding battle 53-29.

NAU was led in scoring by Montana Oltrogge with 19 points. Emily Jaiteh registered her first ever double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, as well as making three 3-pointers during the game.

Emily Schenck had an outstanding defensive performance, keeping the Eagles off the board and out of the paint while recording eight assists on the night. Additionally, she put together an impressive second half performance with nine points and 10 assists, playing a significant role in NAU's victory against Eastern Washington.

NAU earned its third win in four games, improving to 8-7 overall and 1-1 in Big Sky play. NAU will conclude its first half of conference play next Saturday when it travels to Flagstaff to face Northern Colorado for a final time.

NAU won the defensive battle, while Eastern Washington did its part offensively with a balanced attack. The Eagles scored at least one point in each quarter and nine players totaled at least two points.

Early in the game, EWU's shooting was inconsistent but they managed to stay within striking distance until the end of the first half. After an impressive start in the first half, however, EWU began missing more often in the second and fell behind Idaho by 24 points at halftime.

Despite their loss, the Eagles remain in fifth place in the conference and hope to complete a season sweep over Northern Arizona on Thursday night. Despite having an excellent record against Northern Arizona, they will face a difficult test Thursday night against the Jacks.

SportsLine's computer model predicts a 10-point spread for this matchup with accuracy, so you can take your pick. Click here for college basketball picks on every game including this one from SportsLine's expert computer model.

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