Energetic start not enough to carry Lady Demons to victory

Northwestern State could not sustain a high-energy start against New Orleans, dropping a second straight home game 77-63 on Wednesday night.

The Lady Demons (5-14, 2-8 SLC) jumped out to an 11-point lead six minutes into the game but a 2-for-12 shooting effort in the second allowed New Orleans (11-8, 7-3 SLC) to build an insurmountable lead.

“I was very pleased with that first quarter,” interim head coach Aaron Swinson said. “I told them from the beginning it was going to be emotionally high but that we had to keep our composure.

“I think we went from that high to emotionally low in the second quarter though because we weren’t making the baskets. Other than that I was pleased with the effort but we’ve still got to finish around the basket, wide open shots, free throws that sort of thing.”

A pair of free throws and ensuing 3-ball from Kira Bonner had the Lady Demons out to an early 5-0 lead. But unlike the past two games, a player not named Bonner would score in the first quarter for NSU.

Jasmyn Johnson found her stroke from deep with a pair of long balls from the left wing on consecutive trips down the floor. The senior converted three from behind the arc in the quarter. Three free throws from Tristen Washington gave NSU its largest lead of the game with 3:53 remaining in the opening frame.

UNO finished the quarter on a 12-4 run however, creating plenty of momentum to carry them into a big second only trailing 23-20.

Even though the Privateers had their lowest shooting effort of the game in that second period, going 5-for-19, the Lady Demons could not keep the early energy going. The 18-6 second quarter created enough cushion for the visitors to keep NSU at arms length the rest of the game.

New Orleans stretched its lead to 20 midway through the third quarter and led 60-45 entering the final 10 minutes.

Trailing 67-49 with just over seven minutes left in the game, the Lady Demons made a huge push to get back within striking distance. A pair of newcomers, Washington and transfer Leilani Moncrease combined to score nine straight points for the Lady Demons, making it a nine-point game with 3:33 remaining.

UNO ended the NSU scoring run with a dagger of a 3-pointer from Dionjhae Thomas to push the lead back into double figures. Four straight empty possessions for the purple and white kept the lead where it was until time ran short and five late free throws secured the win for the Privateers.

Lacee Savage pulled in a career-high 10 rebounds in the game, the first player this season to reach double figures on the glass in a game. Bonner extended her consecutive double-digit scoring games to seven with 13 points. Washington and Johnson each put in 14, a new career high for Washington.

The Lady Demons wrap up their three-game home stand on Saturday afternoon in doubleheader action with the NSU men beginning at 1 p.m. against Central Arkansas.