NSU– It’s usually about how you finish and less so about how you start. Northwestern State had a great start and finish to its game Sunday against Houston Baptist, resulting in the first conference win of the season.
The Lady Demons (4-9, 1-3 SLC) have their sight set on another win Wednesday night looking to build on the Sunday’s successes. NSU hosts Incarnate Word (5-6, 1-1 SLC) at 6:30 p.m. inside Prather Coliseum, wrapping up a three-game homestand to start January.
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NSU’s 69-60 defeat of Houston Baptist, topped with a 32-point effort from senior Kira Bonner.
“Any time somebody has a game like that it’s a combination of a lot of different people and their effort,” fourth-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “Kira has put in a lot of extra work though as well.
“She shot 50 percent from the field, 67 percent from 3 and 80 percent from the free throw line. Those are really good numbers and we need that to continue to make sure that we take care of home court on Wednesday.”
Bonner’s effort was the second most points scored in a game this season by a Southland Conference player. It came exactly one year from the NSU’s most recent 30-point scorer Nautica Grant, who netted 34 in an 82-63 win against McNeese.
While the individual performance was impressive, Dupuy was even more pleased with the way the team finished the game, something that has not happened to his expectation through much of the season.
“The biggest thing was finally finishing a game the way we needed to finish,” Dupuy said. “We felt like if we pressured the entire game hopefully in the fourth quarter, we could take control. That’s what happened.
“We only gave up eight points in the fourth quarter and four of those were from the free throw line. We got some good opportunities off the break there and executed the way we needed to.”
Eyeing a second straight conference win, the Lady Demons have their hands full with a UIW team that boasts one of the stingiest defenses in the SLC.
The Cardinals allow just 58.5 points per game, fourth best in the conference, despite seeing opponents shoot 42 percent from the field against them. They are currently the only team in the SLC allowing less than 60 points per game that has an overall losing record.
Offensively UIW ranks at the bottom of the conference in scoring putting in 54.6 points a night, led by senior Imani Robinson’s 12.2 per game. The Cardinals have been held below 50 points in five of their six losses this season, including a 47-37 defeat in their SLC opener against Central Arkansas.
“They’re a team that’s playing extremely hard and confident,” Dupuy said. “They can grind you out and win in the 40s or 50s or they can put up 70. They can do some different things defensively that can kind of confuse you too. It’s going to be a tough game on Wednesday.”
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Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services