NSU eyes fourth straight win when it hosts New Orleans on Saturday

2_13 Beatrice Attura (3)

A three-game winning streak has shown Brooke Stoehr quite a bit about her team’s resiliency.

It also has allowed the fourth-year co-head coach to see her team grow up some entering the most pivotal part of its season, which continues Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. when the Northwestern State women’s basketball team hosts Southland Conference rival New Orleans in Prather Coliseum.

That resiliency showed when the Lady Demons erased an 11-point lead with 13 minutes to play in a 66-62 win against Nicholls on Wednesday.

“Last year’s team would get down 10, 12, 16, 18 and they were able to fight back,” Stoehr said. “This year’s team hasn’t shown that. They grew up in a huge way (Wednesday) night. I’m just proud of their effort and their resilience, even when things didn’t go their way.”

Northwestern State’s three-game winning streak has pushed it to 15-10 overall and 9-5 in conference play, good for third place. With league-leading Abilene Christian ineligible for the conference tournament, NSU finds itself positioned to grab a double bye in next month’s tournament in Katy, Texas.

To do so, the Lady Demons will need to keep New Orleans (7-15, 4-9) from repeating its late-season run of the 2014-15 season. The Privateers won four of their final five games of the season, including a 72-70 victory against Northwestern State in Prather Coliseum in the regular-season finale.

New Orleans snapped a nine-game road losing streak Thursday, defeating Southeastern Louisiana 62-51 behind 18 points and 14 rebounds from reigning SLC Freshman of the Year Randi Brown.

“They came in playing very well,” Stoehr said. “Randi Brown is a very good scorer for them. They’ve got a couple of players inside who can rebound. They’re going to mix it up defensively and play that zone. They’re going to be tough to score against.”

Beating a zone often means relying on perimeter players to connect on outside shots to free up driving lanes.

With Keisha Lee (43.8 percent 3-point shooting), Janelle Perez (42.6 percent) and Beatrice Attura (33.9 percent), Northwestern State is equipped to stretch a zone.

The re-emergence of Shahd Abboud, who has hit six of her last 11 3-point tries, adds to the Lady Demons’ perimeter strength.

“The biggest thing for us is spacing,” Stoehr said. “When we go with that four-guard lineup – and we have players out there that you have to guard and create space for one another – it makes it difficult for teams to figure out how they’re going to guard you. When you can spread people out and really attack one-on-ones, draw defenders to you and kick and make those open shots, it makes it much more difficult to guard and opens things up inside for Cheyenne (Brown).”

The game will air on the Demon Sports Network. Tony Taglavore, in his eighth season, will deliver the play-by-play call of the game.