FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Sacramento State battled back from an early 13-point deficit and had a shot to tie the game at the buzzer but could not get it to go as Northern Arizona hung on for a 91-88 home win on Thursday in Flagstaff.
Down six points with 20 seconds left, Hornet freshman Tiara Scott hit a 3-point to bring the Hornets within one possession. Sacramento State than forced a turnover and an opportunity to tie but Scott's attempt at back-to-back threes would not go.
Sacramento State (9-17, 5-10 Big Sky) had won three straight games against the Lumberjacks, including an 82-76 home win over NAU in The Nest in January. Northern Arizona (8-18, 4-11 Big Sky) picked up its second consecutive win.
Scott, who hit seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 25 points last Saturday vs. Montana State, had 13 points and four assists on Thursday. Junior Maranne Johnson led Sacramento State with 15 points and had five rebounds while junior Justyce Dawson had 11 points and senior Margaret Huntington had 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Hornets struggled from 3-point range, shooting 9-of-41 (22%) from beyond the arc. NAU matched Sacramento State with nine made 3-pointers and shot 51% overall with a 48-45 rebounding edge.
Northern Arizona came out hot, outscoring the Hornets 17-5 over the last five minutes of the first quarter to take a 26-15 lead. The Lumberjacks took a 13-point lead to begin the second quarter, but Sacramento State outscored NAU 22-14 over the last eight minutes of the first half to trail just 44-39 at the intermission.
The home team went back ahead by 12 points early in the third quarter, but again the Hornets rallied and took a 62-60 lead at the 2:40 mark of the quarter. The game was tied 71-71 going to the fourth but, after scoring 32 points in the third quarter, Sacramento State shot just 26% in the fourth and scored only 17 points.
The Hornets still trailed by just three points with a minute to play but two offensive fouls and 3-of-4 free throw shooting by the Lumberjacks were enough to give Northern Arizona the win.
The Lumberjacks had five players score in double-figures, with Catelyn Preston tallying 24 points and 11 rebounds shooting 10-of-15 from the field. Kaleigh Paplow also had a double-double for Northern Arizona with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Hornets forced 20 Lumberjack turnovers and outscored NAU 27-8 in points off turnovers but scored just eight second-chance points despite 16 offensive rebounds.
Sacramento State plays its final road game of the season at 1 p.m. Pacific time Saturday at Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds picked up their first conference win of the season on Thursday, beating Portland State 82-64.