THIBODAUX – Another game and another road trip for Northwestern State as it nears the end of its season-long five-game road journey on Wednesday against Nicholls.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Stopher Gym and can be heard on 92.3 FM in Natchitoches. Live streaming audio will be available through http://www.nsudemons.com.
The Lady Demons (0-7, 0-2) struggled with turnovers and finding consistent offensive production in a 67-47 loss at McNeese on Saturday, two things that have haunted the team the most through the first seven games.
The first half has been particularly tough for NSU in the past two games. With 29 combined turnovers and a 27 percent shooting effort, the Lady Demons have found themselves in holes early in the game. Holes they have yet to be able to escape.
The recent dip in production across the board and uptick in turnovers has, according to first-year head coach Anna Nimz, created confidence issues in some players.
“When you start out the season 0-7, regardless of how many times you tell the kids you believe in them and they have the ability, not getting wins contributes to confidence issues,” Nimz said. “Sometimes with some kids when you lose your confidence you lose your effort.
“That’s something that we continue to harp on. You do not gain confidence by doing less, you gain confidence by doing more. That comes from getting in the gym, getting extra shots up. We tell them all the time we are here for individual workouts. When our back’s against the wall, and they are, we’ve got to continue to work more and never allow the adversity to let us settle for less.”
The Lady Demons will need to find their confidence and effort against a Nicholls team that responded to a tough loss with a solid 76-63 win against Southeastern La. Its last time out.
The Colonels (3-7, 2-1) present just as much of a challenge as any team the Lady Demons have faced especially in the way of sophomore forward Chelsea Cain.
“She’s a really good player and does a lot of good things on both ends of the floor,” Nimz said. “Offensively we’re going to have to be smart about not getting too deep. We want to be able to get past the elbow and make the read early. We’ve had the tendency to get too deep and try to make passes out of it and it’s forced us to turn the ball over.”
Cain has three double-doubles in the past four games and coming off a 26-point, 12-rebound performance against SLU. She ranks in the top five in the Southland Conference in scoring (15.9) and rebounding (7.7).
With a trio of players above six-feet tall and a style of play that sends them to the free throw line 20 times per game, the defensive effort and discipline for the Lady Demons will be key.
“They’re a very good dribble-drive team,” Nimz said. “The have good length down low and are just an overall aggressive team. I’d like to see us sell out to our defense and put the effort in that’s going to be needed to close those gaps and do our best to keep them out of the paint.”
NSU has allowed 32.0 points in the paint in the first two SLC games.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services