Quick ball movement and opportunistic defense guided the Northwestern State women’s basketball team to an 82-62 win against Southeastern on Saturday at Prather Coliseum.
Four different NSU players recorded at least five assists as part of 26 team assists on 32 baskets to snap a three-game skid.
Junior guard Beatrice Attura contributed a game-high 21 points and six assists to help the Lady Demons (12-9, 7-4 Southland Conference) beat Southeastern (3-16, 2-6).
Attura, who scored in double figures for her sixth straight contest, said playing with a four-guard offense helped create offensive spacing.
“We made a little bit of an adjustment with the four guards, and it helps us move the ball better when everybody can shoot and everybody is a threat,” said Attura, who shot 8-of-13 from the field. “It helped all of us get our rhythm … and it was easy for me because I had wide open shots that my teammates created for me.
“My coaches have been on me about playing in control, and my teammates made that easy for me (Saturday).”
After Southeastern took its only lead of the game at 10-8, Attura scored seven of her nine first-quarter points as NSU ended the first quarter on a 14-3 run. The Lady Demons never looked back from the 22-13 margin.
Attura led four NSU players in double digits, which included freshman post Cheyenne Brown (16 points) and senior guards Keisha Lee (13 points) and Janelle Perez (12 points).
Lee added six assists to go with five each from Perez and junior guard Shahd Abboud, who led the team with nine rebounds.
“We talked a lot about our energy and effort level and commitment to being unselfish, and our assist-to-turnover ratio (26-12) exemplified that today,” said NSU women’s co-head coach Brooke Stoehr. “When we share the basketball and get the ball moving, we’ve got threats out there that can score.
“It’s great to score (82 points) because when Janelle shoots (3-of-10 from 3-point range) – and look, there’s a lot of people that would love to shoot 30 percent from there – but when that’s happened in the past, we didn’t have the people that could pick up the slack. When you can get balance inside and out, it makes you that much more difficult to guard.”
Brown and sophomore Tia Youngblood (eight points) provided post scoring along with four combined assists. Abboud, who played in the post at times, also added eight points to contribute to NSU’s 40-26 edge in points in the paint.
Brown’s scored in double figures six times this season, and she said she’s becoming more comfortable in her first collegiate campaign.
“I feel like I’m learning everything better, and it is getting easier,” Brown said. “I’m still a freshman, so at times it still can be hard, but I can’t ask anything more from my teammates and coaches the way they work with me.
“The ball movement creates space for me, and I’m able to work and do what I do best. (On defense), going against (Southeastern’s Nanna Pool) helped my defense and what I need to improve. She’s an awesome post player, and post defense is one of my biggest challenges moving forward.”
Pool collected a game-high 11 rebounds and four blocks to go with a team-high 19 points. KaeLynn Boyd was the Lions’ only other double-digit scorer with 10 points as Southeastern shot 44 percent from the field.
NSU forced 20 Southeastern turnovers, which it cashed in for 20 points. The Lady Demons turned 11 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points.
“We’ve struggled with experienced post players because it’s hard to stick a freshman post one-on-one like that,” Stoehr said. “But we contested Southeastern’s 3-pointers (7-of-20 for the game) in the second half and forced turnovers.
“We were active and only allowed one shot, and that’s something we’ve struggled with the past three games. It all comes down to energy and effort, and I was proud of them today.”
NSU goes on the road for a two-game stretch starting at Stephen F. Austin on Thursday at 7 p.m.