Nov. 25, 2005
Flagstaff, Arizona - Courtesy NAU sports information...
Second-half free throws down the stretch enabled the Northern Arizona women's basketball team to finally pull away from Cal State Fullerton and take a 66-61 victory in the Lumberjacks' first game of the La Quinta Inn & Suites Thanksgiving Tournament. NAU will now face Manhattan in the championship game at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26.
Manhattan took a 72-65 win over Army earlier in the day. NAU is now 2-1 for the season, while Cal State Fullerton is 0-3 and will be looking for its first win tomorrow against Army in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m.
Megan Porter led the Lumberjacks for the third time in as many games with 19 points. Three other players also scored double figures for NAU as Natalie Metz and Sadé Cunningham put up 12 points apiece and Nicky Eason added 10. Eason led the team in rebounds with eight, and Cunningham led all players with eight assists and five steals.
After sinking five of their first seven field-goal attempts of the game, the Lumberjacks were then plagued by poor shooting for nearly the rest of the contest. Cal State Fullerton outshot NAU 56 percent to 35 percent in the first half, and while the Titans then struggled in the second half (37 percent), the Lumberjacks failed to take advantage and shot just 34 percent themselves.
Cal State Fullerton's Toni Thomas led all players at the half with eight points, helping her team go into the break with a 28-26 lead.
Porter scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half, and was able to get to the free throw line where she sank 7-of-7 after not getting to the line once in the first half.
Not a single Lumberjack attempted a free throw in the first half. Along with Porter, Metz found her offensive rhythm in the second half and drew enough fouls to attempt six free throws, and made five.
NAU saw its first lead of the second half at 34-33 with 17:11 remaining, but did not gain another lead of more than one point until three minutes and 15 seconds were left on the clock. The Titans got within three at 1:17 after being down by five, but missed four field goal opportunities as the time ran out. Charlee Underwood led Cal State Fullerton with 13 points, and Thomas finished with a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.