NAU escapes with OT win
"Give credit to Northern Arizona, they made some shots down the stretch," UND head coach Travis Brewster said. "We lost some players (Allyssa Wall and Katie Houdek both did not play due to injury) and I thought they did a good job of capitalizing on miscues. We have to get back after it and get better."
With 17 seconds left to go in regulation and NAU (7-17, 6-9 Big Sky) holding a two-point lead, UND could not get the ball in and turned it over on a five-second violation. Undeterred, Buck immediately stole the ball through full-court pressure and was fouled. She calmly knocked-down both free throws to re-tie the score with 11 seconds left.
The North Dakota (10-15, 5-11) pressure defense pinned Erikka Banks against the baseline forcing her to pick up her dribble near the UND bench, but a foul on UND gave her a chance to ice it with under five seconds remaining. Instead, she missed the first of a bonus opportunity and Buck lept in to secure the rebound and force overtime.
In the extra session, after a few empty trips by both teams Buck nailed a triple from the left wing to stake UND to a 60-57 lead. However, back-to-back buckets by Aubrey Davis gave the lead right back to NAU as Buck's three proved to be the only points in the extra period for the road team.
It was a battle throughout with the lead changing hands six times in the first half alone and the teams heading to the locker room all square at 28 apiece. Buck had just three points at the break and the Big Sky's leading scorer Amy Patton was held to just four in the opening stanza for NAU.
Patton scored the first six NAU points of the second half and the margin teetered between two and four points for virtually the entire first half of the second frame. Brianna Williams, who had not seen the floor in the first half, connected on a pair of jumpers and two free throws to provide a spark as UND drew even at 39-39. Nicole Smart hit a three and later had a long jumper to put the North Dakota advantage at four with 8:25 remaining.
A steal and a cross-court layup by Banks knotted the score at 46-46 with five-and-a-half minutes to play. Later, a quick 7-0 spurt pushed the Lumberjacks back in front, 53-48, until Megan Lauck drove the paint and scored on a running right-handed scoop shot and converted on the free throw to slice the deficit to a bucket.
With the score 55-51 and 1:47 to play, Buck tripled and added three free throws down the stretch to score UND's final nine points overall and final six points in regulation. Buck finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.
Lauck added 11 points and Smart chipped-in 10 for North Dakota. Carly Rothfusz contributed six points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks off the bench.
NAU had four players in double figures led by 18 from Banks with 16 from Patton, 15 from Davis and Amanda Frost adding 11.
North Dakota returns home for a three-game homestand beginning with a Thursday tilt against Northern Colorado. Tip time is slated for 7:00 p.m. from the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.