Lady Demons looking for more growth at UTSA

SAN ANTONIO – Wear the loss, learn from it and grow from it is what first-year Northwestern State head coach Anna Nimz said to her team following Saturday’s game. The Lady Demons hope to do just that as they embark on a week-long trip to Texas starting with UTSA on Tuesday night.

NSU takes on its second straight former Southland Conference foe in UTSA. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be heard on 92.3 FM The Fox with live streaming audio available at TONIGHT

While the Lady Demons have certainly watched and studied the film on their opponent, sometimes looking at yourself can provide even greater benefit. After weeks of relying solely on practice film, Nimz used Saturday’s game against ULM as much of a teaching tool as she did the film on UTSA.

“It’s nice to have game-speed footage,” Nimz said. “It allows us to really hammer home some things that we talk about in practice. Sometimes it’s hard to know you’re actually doing something until you see it. So, there are a lot of advantages to having that film to be able to grow from it.”

As expected, plenty of new faces made their NSU debut in the season opener. Three were named in the starting lineup – Andreea Cojocariu, Alexia Marsh and Makayla VanNett – with all six playing at least 10 minutes on the night.

The outcome of the game may not have been in the Lady Demon’s favor but the takeaways Nimz had for her group of newcomers and their effort were positive.

“We competed, and we competed for a lot of minutes,” Nimz said. “We executed and were disciplined in what we did for a lot of minutes.

“I thought we saw some growth in individual players that maybe we hadn’t seen in practice yet. We had some freshmen get some minutes and maybe they were a little bit nervous initially, but they settled into it. Now they are a little more comfortable, they’ve had that first taste and that first game.”

The Lady Demons hope to see growth quickly as they face a UTSA team that hasn’t seen action in 12 days after having their game with UIW scheduled for Sunday canceled due to COVID-19.

“They’re similar to ULM in that they have some pretty dominant post players,” Nimz said. “Although they don’t outsize us as much as ULM did on the block, they have some very skilled post players that are pulling down lots of rebounds a game.”

The Roadrunners rank first in Conference USA in rebounding at 49.3 per game and are pulling in an impressive 18.3 offensive rebounds per game, twice as many as their opponents. They’ve converted those rebounds into 52 second-chance points so far.

Sophomore Adryana Quezada is the cog that runs the UTSA team averaging a double-double through three games with 16.0 points and 11.7 rebounds a night.

“We did relatively well in our on-ball defending against ULM but there were times where we bailed them out closer to the rim,” Nimz said. “We’ve got to figure out how to guard and finish out the possession. Try and force them to take bad shots.”

Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services