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A flurry of 3-pointers earns Idaho St. NCAA tourney trip

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Idaho State used a fast-paced game and a
late flurry of 3-pointers to get by Northern Arizona 84-78 Saturday
in the championship game of the Big Sky Conference women's
basketball tournament.

"I thought we got off to a great start from an offensive
standpoint," said ISU coach Jon Newlee. "It was at a tempo that
we wanted to play. We did a great job of opening up the old
fun-and-gun in the second half and hit our 3's and really busted
things open."

Tournament MVP Natalie Doma scored 24 points and grabbed 16
rebounds to lead Idaho State (17-13), which earns the league's
automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Northern Arizona (20-12), which knocked off Montana in
the semifinals, took its last lead at 57-56 on a free throw by
Laura Dinkins with 8:37 remaining.

Idaho State hit four consecutive 3-pointers -- by Andrea Lightfoot,
Kaylynn Fager, Michelle Grohs and Fager again.

Northern Arizona answered with three layups and trailed 68-63
with 4:33 remaining.

"One stretch they hit four 3's in a row," said NAU coach
Laurie Kelly. "I thought that was really the swing of the game,
those four possessions."

Lightfoot made a layup with 3:59 left, then two free throws at
3:28 to give the Bengals a 72-65 lead.

Megan Porter hit two free throws and Alyssa Wahl, who finished
with 30 points, hit a 3 to pull NAU to 72-70 with 2:37 remaining.

Northern Arizona fouled four consecutive times to get to the
bonus. Lightfoot missed a shot with 1:06 remaining, but a jump ball
on the rebound went to Idaho State and the Lumberjacks were forced
to foul.

Lightfoot's two free throws gave the Bengals a 76-70 lead with
54 seconds left.

Wahl banked in a 3 to pull NAU to 76-73 with 49 seconds left,
but the Lumberjacks missed two 3-pointers with about 25 seconds
left.

ISU made all eight of its free throws in the final 45 seconds to
seal the win.

Devin Diehl added 12 points and Grohs scored 11 for Idaho State.

Porter added 15 points and 14 rebounds for while Sade Cunningham
had 12 points and 10 assists for Northern Arizona, which was
playing its third game in as many days.

"I give credit to Idaho State. Every time it was a made or
missed shot, they were just pushing," Kelly said. "He wanted the
ball up the floor, he wanted the tempo to stay fast because that
would play into their hands, having played only one game versus
two."