A long season for Northwestern State women’s basketball enters the final stretch with the last two games of the year this week.
The Lady Demons (0-18, 0-13) host New Orleans on Wednesday night before closing out the 2020-21 season with Central Arkansas on Saturday.
Tipoff of Wednesday’s affair with New Orleans is set for 6:30 p.m. inside Prather Coliseum. The game can be heard locally on 92.3 FM with subscription video and free audio streams available at http://www.nsudemons.com.
NSU had one bad quarter in the loss to Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday. A more than seven-minute stretch of scoreless basketball allowed the Lady Lions to pull away enough to secure the road win. While the Lady Demons played a much improved second half, the deficit was too large and 0-for-11 mark from behind the arc didn’t allow for bulk points for the home team.
“Our shootaround before the game wasn’t very energetic,” first-year head coach Anna Nimz said. “I think all the small things like that add up to the game and what’s going to happen. We started off sluggish but came out and played a better second half.
“It still comes down to we’re a young team asking freshmen and sophomores to get these things accomplished. I think we’re capable of doing it and I really hope for their sake that we have a good final week.”
With the amount of minutes Erin Harris and Osha Cummings have put in this season one can easily forget that they are in just their first year of collegiate basketball. Both have been sparks at times for the Lady Demons through the challenging season, including the past three games.
Harris set and then reset her season best scoring output with 14 against Nicholls, then upping it to 15 against Southeastern. Cummings has led the team in rebounding in the past three games, averaging 8.0 board per game, matching a season best she set in the game at New Orleans on Jan. 27 each time.
It’s that kind of energy, effort, enthusiasm and confidence the Lady Demons as a whole will need to harness in the final two games of the season.
In the first meeting with New Orleans, the Lady Demons entered the fourth quarter with just a five-point deficit. A string of costly turnovers early in the period opened the door for the Privateers (5-14, 2-11) to turn a close game into a 15-point win, their first in conference play at the time.
Regardless of the game or the opponent the next two games for Nimz boil down to a handful of things, none of which center around the Xs and Os of basketball.
“If they can leave it all out on the court, control our heart, effort, energy, focus and pride in what we’re doing, the games can be ours,” Nimz said. “It’s not that we don’t have the ability to do that we just haven’t been able to do it. I told them if they can snag one of them, that’s what they’ll remember from a very tough, adversity-filled year. They’ll remember that one game.”
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services