AUSTIN, Texas – The last time the Northwestern State women’s basketball team returned to action after an eight-day layoff it produced one of its best efforts of the season at Alabama.
Armed with that knowledge, the Lady Demons will try to replicate that when they come back from their second week-plus of December to face No. 12 Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Saturday’s game can seen on the Longhorn Network, while streaming audio is available on http://www.NSUDemons.com or through the new Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free through the Apple Store or Google Play. Tony Taglavore, in his 11th season, will handle the play-by-play call of the game.
“I would hope we gained some confidence against Alabama we can bring to Austin,” third-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “We want to play a certain way and being able to turn our opponent over has to be the mind-set no matter who we are playing.”
Northwestern State (5-5) bounced back from its 14-point loss at Alabama on Dec. 16 with an 82-56 win against Central Baptist on Dec. 21. The Lady Demons forced 32 turnovers in the win against the Mustangs, bumping their national-leading average to 28.2.
Turning over Texas (9-2) will be a challenge as the Longhorns commit 15.9 turnovers per game.
The Longhorns will pose a challenge on the backboard as they lead the Big 12 in total rebounds (495) and rank 14th nationally in rebounds per game (45.0). Texas also hauls down an average of 14.2 offensive rebounds per game, a mark that stands fifth nationally.
“Texas has so much size and quickness,” Dupuy said. “The biggest concern is stopping their transition game and keeping them off the glass. Making them a half-court team and only allowing one shot is critical. That is also the most difficult challenge for any of their
Northwestern State also can cull some positive thoughts from its most recent trip to the Frank Erwin Center. On Dec. 13, 2017, the Lady Demons fell 68-44 to then-No. 8 Texas, holding the Longhorns to their lowest point total of the season at that point.
Northwestern State did so by slowing the tempo, something Dupuy said also affected his team.
Through three games against Power Five conference opponents in 2018-19, the Lady Demons have been much better offensively, averaging 60.6 points per game in those outings. In Dupuy’s first two seasons, Northwestern State averaged 41.1 points per game in seven games against those opponents.
Part of that improvement has been achieved by turning defense into offense. In games against Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama, Northwestern State has forced an average of 22.7 turnovers per game.
Dupuy has said forcing turnovers and playing aggressive defense has defined his third edition of the Lady Demons, something that will need to continue despite the second long break of the month.
“The difference this time with our long break between games is we were still practicing,” Dupuy said. “We had the break thrown in (this time), and you have to shake off the holiday cobwebs. We have to understand we are down 15 before we even step on the floor, so playing with a sense of urgency for 40 minutes is a must.”
Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services