Lady Demons 91
NATCHITOCHES – After some understandable opening-night nerves fell away from the Northwestern State women’s basketball team, a stifling defense sparked a big win.
The Lady Demons (1-0) pulled away in the second quarter behind a 27-point outburst to take the convincing 91-50 win on Tuesday night against Centenary. NSU held the Ladies (1-1) to just nine point on 16 percent shooting from the field to build the insurmountable lead.
“I think we came out of the gate a little bit timid and were a little loose with the ball, but from the jump I think our defense was good,” second-year head coach Anna Nimz said. “They were able to get up and guard the ball well and did a tremendous job in the full court, but we fell off at times in the half court. It was a good first quarter but once their nerves kind of fell off they really kind of took over the game at that point.”
It was a one-point game through the first seven minutes of play until Karmelah Dean knocked down a jumper that was immediately followed by a Monette Bolden steal and score to make it a five-point game.
The Lady Demons finished the quarter with an 11-3 run, sparked by Bolden’s layup, that set the stage for what turned into an exciting night for the graduate transfer.
After pushing the lead to double figures early in the second, Bolden answered a Centenary 3-pointer with one of her to starting a stretch where she scored 10 of NSU’s next 13 points to make it a 37-17 game.
Centenary went more than six minutes of the second quarter without a successful field goal thanks to the in-your-face pressure from the Lady Demons. A pressure that helped fuel Bolden and ignite the offense for the middle part of the game.
“I really fed off the energy from my teammates,” Bolden said. “If I saw them playing up, I knew they had my back if I overplayed or did something crazy. I knew they had may back, so it was easy to go after it.”
NSU hit a slight dry spell at the end of the quarter offensively, but Erin Harris capped the 27-point frame with a jumper that put the Lady Demons up 48-21 at halftime.
“I think the nerves weren’t a factor at that point like they were in the first,” Candice Parramore said about the difference between the first and second quarters. “We calmed down and saw how the first went and were able to go out and play hard defense. That was really what got us going more than anything and the offense came from that.”
The Lady Demons kept the foot down coming out of the break, scoring the first 18 points of the third quarter and locking down the Centenary offense. The Ladies went more than five minutes without a field goal to start the third quarter while NSU went 7-for-10 from the floor during that same stretch.
In the second and third quarters, NSU outscored Centenary 58-22 to put the game out of reach entering the final 10 minutes.
The Lady Demons dominated play around the basket with 48 points in the pair, but more noticeable with a 63-33 rebounding edge only allowing two offensive rebounds in the game to Centenary.
Bolden finished the night with 14 points while Parramore and center Jordan Todd turned in double-doubles. Parramore led all scorers with 16 points, adding 10 rebounds, and Todd went for 15 and 15 for her first double-double at NSU.
Jiselle Woodson dropped in 12 points to reach double digits while Jasmin Dixon grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.
“For our first night, for 11 new kids mixed with three returners I think the girls did a tremendous job across the board,” Nimz said. “We have a lot of things to fix. But if we can continue to nitpick and coach them up and they get on board every single day, they’re an exciting team and have a lot of potential.”
The Lady Demon host Texas A&M-Texarkana on Saturday evening as the middle game of a triple header with NSU volleyball and Demon basketball.
Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services