Sam Houston State-NSU game remains as scheduled for Wednesday

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Wednesday’s 4 p.m. Southland Conference women’s basketball game between Northwestern State and Sam Houston State is on as scheduled as of Tuesday evening.

Northwestern State Director of Athletics Greg Burke said he plans to provide an update on the game’s status mid-day Wednesday after monitoring overnight weather conditions and forecasts for Wednesday night.

The Bearkats arrived in Natchitoches on Monday night, leaving Huntsville, Texas, a day earlier than they planned. Sam Houston State practiced Tuesday afternoon at Prather Coliseum.

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Both the Northwestern State women’s basketball team and its Sam Houston State counterpart are searching for their first Southland Conference victory of the 2018 conference season. Tipoff for both hungry teams is set for 6:30 p.m.

“I think pivotal is a perfect word to describe it,” second-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “We’re in a position where the time is now. We’ve got to play with a desperate mentality, a sense of urgency for 40 minutes. They’re in the same boat we are, winless in conference. The same thing I’m preaching to our team, they’re preaching to theirs.”

Northwestern State (5-11, 0-5) has dropped five straight games since an 87-22 win against Central Baptist College on Dec. 20.

In Saturday’s 80-41 loss at Abilene Christian, the Lady Demons had nine healthy players available and likely will be in that same situation come tipoff Wednesday. Among those nine is junior guard Nautica Grant, whose 11.5 points per game are the most among healthy Lady Demons and who has scored in double figures in a career-long five straight games.

“It is a challenge, and even those who are playing are going through things,” Dupuy said. “Like I tell them all the time, if you’re only going to work on the days you feel good, you’re rarely going to work. You’re a Division I athlete, there are going to be aches and pains. Every team has losses. You have to step up and be ready. The nine we have available, I believe in, and I believe we can pull out a victory on Wednesday.”

Sam Houston State (3-12, 0-5) finds itself in the same situation it did in its previous game. The Bearkats fell to Houston Baptist, 69-61, on Saturday, giving the Huskies their first Southland Conference victory.

The Bearkats, who are led by guard Jennifer Oramas’ 11.2 points per game, have won two of the past three meetings with the Lady Demons, splitting the two-game season series in 2016-17.

The Lady Demons won by 27 at Prather Coliseum before falling by 19 in Huntsville, Texas. That game has stuck with Dupuy and his staff.

“We talked about it (Monday) in our film session, how it was a tale of two games,” Dupuy said. “Here, we controlled the game from the second quarter on. They played a lot of man, and we executed against it and had a 27-point victory. We went there and did a decent job of executing against zone, but we could not defend them. They had an amazing night, made some great adjustments and made plays. It has to be a learning experience for us. We’ve got to defend our home court and be hungrier than they are.”

Wednesday’s game is available via streaming audio on Tony Taglavore, in his 10th season, will handle the play-by-play call of the game.