The Northwestern State women’s basketball team understands what it feels like to welcome a key piece of its roster back from injury.
In its second Southland Conference game of the season, NSU faces a Sam Houston State squad that feels the same way. Tipoff for the opener of an SLC doubleheader at Prather Coliseum is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday. The matchup between the men’s teams will begin at approximately 7:30.
Last week, Northwestern State (7-5, 1-0) saw the return of senior guard Keisha Lee, a move that paid dividends in NSU’s conference opener. Lee scored 11 points, including a late 3-pointer that effectively clinched the victory.
“We’ve all been anxious to get her back on the floor,” fourth-year co-head coach Brooke Stoehr said. “It’s great to have her out there. She gives us another option from an attacking standpoint and defensively.”
Much like NSU awaited the return of a senior, the Bearkats (5-6, 1-0) did the same, waiting an entire season for 6-foot-3 center Angela Beadle to return.
As a junior in 2013-14, Beadle a team-best 15.8 points per game and finished second in the Southland Conference in total rebounds with 300 before missing the entire 2014-15 season.
Beadle has started all 11 of Sam Houston State’s games this season, averaging 12.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Beadle scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Bearkats opened Southland play with a 65-60 win at Incarnate Word on Saturday.
“Beadle’s back and that gives them another veteran post presence,” Stoehr said. “They’ve played a tough schedule. You look at the teams they’ve played. They’ve been to Texas. They’ve been to Arkansas. They’ve played several high majors. When we get to conference play, we throw records out because we all play such different schedules.”
Beadle and fellow senior Shernise Robertson are Sam Houston State’s top two scoring threats. Robertson ranks second in the Southland Conference in scoring, averaging 16.9 points per game.
Northwestern State’s Beatrice Attura is third in the Southland at 16.3 points per game and has scored in double figures in 11 of NSU’s 12 games this season.
In the teams’ lone meeting this past season, Robertson had 16 points and hit four 3-pointers in NSU’s 66-57 win in Huntsville, Texas.
“(Robertson) is one of the leading scorers in the league and played at a very high level for them last year,” Stoehr said.
Attura had 16 points Saturday for Northwestern State, which won its season-best fourth straight game. A victory Monday would equal NSU’s longest win streak from the 2015-16. That run occurred at the beginning of Southland Conference play.
Extending the streak, however, is secondary to Stoehr’s mantra of consistent improvement.
“Everything we do in our program, we want to be 1-0 every single day,” Stoehr said. “That’s our preparation, every possession on both ends of the floor, we want to be 1-0. We’ll take that confidence. It’s easier to play with more confidence when you win and good things happen. We’ll try to carry that over to Monday against Sam Houston.”
The game will air on the Demon Sports Network at nsudemons.com.