Women’s Basketball — Northwestern State faces tall challenge, early tip at No. 11 Texas



AUSTIN, Texas – Northwestern State women’s basketball co-head coach Brooke Stoehr always puts together a challenging non-conference schedule with the hope of strengthening her team for the season’s stretch run.

One of the biggest, literally and figuratively, challenges of the non-conference season arrives Wednesday when Northwestern State faces No. 11 Texas at 11 a.m. in the Frank Erwin Center.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” said Stoehr, whose team plays its second game in four days in Texas after a 74-36 loss at SMU on Sunday.

“They’re extremely large. Any time you can expose your players to big-time environments where you’re competing against some of the best athletes in the country, it teaches and shows them this is how you have to play in order to compete at this level.”

Today’s game wraps up a stretch of three games in six days for Northwestern State (1-1), which defeated LeTourneau, 73-44, in its season opener Friday before falling to SMU on Sunday.

Stoehr cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the disparate outcomes in the first two games.

“It’s Game 2 of the season,” she said. “Just like I said last year after Game 2, it’s Game 2 of the season. We’ll continue to get better. We’ll use these first nine or 10 games to figure out who we are and how we need to play and what gives us the best chance to win so we’re ready when conference play starts.”

This marks the third straight season in which the Demons have traveled to Austin. In each of the previous two seasons, Northwestern State has reached the NCAA Tournament, lending credence to the success of NSU’s scheduling philosophy.

Much like SMU, which featured a pair of taller inside presences in 6-foot-5 Stephanie Collins and 6-3 Alicia Froling, the Longhorns will deploy a lineup that will provide NSU with a physical challenge.

Texas’ roster features seven players who stand 6-1 or taller, topped by 6-7 senior Imani Boyette. Boyette was one of six Longhorns who reached double figures in a season-opening 90-53 win against Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.

“This is the first time our freshmen have experienced this,” Stoehr said. “Our returners have been through it. We need to get (the freshmen) to learn to compete every single possession and that pace and that tempo.”

Wednesday’s game will be broadcast across the Demon Sports Network by reaching NSUDemons.com. Tony Taglavore will handle the play-by-play action.