On a day where Central Arkansas dominated the offensive glass, to the tune of 30 offensive rebounds, it was an offensive rebound from Northwestern State’s Erin Harris that was the biggest of the day.
After taking a late 46-43 lead with a chance to extend it with a minute to go, Harris tracked down the long rebound with less than a minute remaining helping the Lady Demons (1-19, 1-14) secure the first win of the season.
“I don’t think any kid or any staff has worked so hard for one win, but I also don’t know that one win has ever felt so good,” first-year head coach Anna Nima said. “My heart is happy for the girls. I’m so happy for them. Players made plays led by our senior Kalen Green. They played with some heart today that’s for sure.”
Down by four entering the fourth quarter, the Lady Demons put in the first five points of the quarter to take the lead. That lead changed hands a few more times until a critical and-1 chance from senior Kalen Green put the Lady Demons up 46-43 with 90 second remaining.
UCA (11-13, 9-7) answered the three-point play on the other end but Harris’ rebound after an NSU miss took the clock under a minute and forced the Sugar Bear into fouls to extend the game. The Lady Demons went 3-for-4 in the final minute to lock in the victory.
Anessa Dussette drew an offensive foul with 20 seconds left that all but sealed the long-awaited win.
“They believed in themselves,” Nimz said. “We talked about it before the game and I reiterated it at half time. Told them we believed in them and went over all the different keys to the game, but words are words and they put all those words into action. That was 100 percent a win for the players, by the players. They showed what they’re made of and knocked off a good team.”
The earlier-than-normal start had an effect on both offenses through the first several minutes. The team combined to go 2-for-10 from the field through the first five minutes – both field goals going to UCA – while NSU had three turnovers and two offensive fouls in its first six possessions.
JaMiya Braxton finally broke through for the Lady Demons with a 3-pointer that made it a 4-3 affair with 5:29 left in the opening quarter. She made another with a minute to go to move NSU within striking distance at the end of the first at 12-8.
UCA finished the quarter going 5-for-12 from the field but missed six of its eight free throws, a trend that continued through the rest of half allowing NSU to keep the game close.
Tristen Washington knocked in her opening shot of the second quarter and Alexia Marsh did what she did so well against New Orleans to tie the game. A steal and acrobatic bucket evened the game at 12, and forced an early timeout just 75 seconds into the second quarter.
The Sugar Bears pushed their lead to seven with the ensuing 7-0 run, until Washington dropped in a moonshot 3 to end the stretch. The NSU defense held and Kalen Green drew a foul on a 3-point shot, making all three from the line, making it a one-point game with 2:11 left.
After UCA scored the next six points the final big shot of the half came from Claudia Vidal, making her third 3 of the season with 10 second left to make it a 25-21 game going into the break.
The Lady Demons continued to stay close through the third quarter, showing much more presence on the glass in the second half. Braxton knocked in another 3 early in the quarter to tying the game at 29 then the first of two game-changing three-point plays from Green knotted it a 32 minutes later.
Green finished the game with a team-high 12 points, going 8-for-9 from the free throw line, as the only Lady Demon in double figures. Dussette finished with eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.