Northwestern State didn’t come out with the intensity it hoped for in the first quarter against Louisiana Christian. The next three quarters, however, were full of enough defensive effort to make any coach happy.
The Lady Demons (3-1) allowed 15 first-quarter points on 6-of-15 shooting. They held the Lady Wildcats (3-1) to 21 points the rest of the game allowing just seven made field goals across the final three quarters in a 78-36 win.
“They really settled into the game,” head coach Anna Nimz said about the change between following the first quarter. “That’s something we’re going to have to continue to grow, taking the game to our opponents instead of allowing the game to come to us at the beginning. We’re going to have to come out as the aggressors.”
NSU were certainly the aggressors from the first minutes of the second quarter, getting a jumper from Jiselle Woodson seconds into the corner and continuing the defense shut down that began at the end of the first quarter.
NSU held LC scoreless for more than five minutes on two occasions between the first and second quarters and then again for a five-minute span in the second. They turned a one-point edge into an eight-point lead. Sharna Ayres, making her NSU debut, started the nine-point swing for the Lady Demons with a jumper from the left wing and drilled a 3-pointer from well beyond the line.
NSU closed the half on a 11-2 run and held the Wildcats to just 2-of-13 shooting from the field in the second quarter. Erin Harris ended the first half scoring with an easy layup on a 3-on-1 break after a JaMiya Braxton rebound to give NSU a 31-21 lead.
“I think we all knew the beginning of the game wasn’t out best and we all just collectively picked it up,” said Karmelah Dean who had eight first-quarter point to keep the Lady Demons close through the sluggish start. “One of our biggest strengths is our defense and we went extra hard on that and let our defense play into our offense.”
As the defense continued to lock down the Wildcats, the NSU offense began to find much more flow in the second half.
The 10-point lead quickly grew to 20 on a steal and layup from Monette Bolden early in the third quarter. She had five of her 11 points in the third as the Lady Demons scored 15 points before LC managed a field goal in the quarter.
With only four turnovers of their own in the second half, down from the 10 in the first, the Lady Demons found plenty of success the rest of the night shooting nearly 40 percent from the floor with the entire roster getting involved.
Four players reached double figures and 12 players made at least one field goal in the game.
“In the second half we were able to play through one another more and turn to court side to side,” Nimz said. “When more than one person touches it in a possession our percentages are going to go up. We had some high post action that did a good job and I was excited to see multiple girls score tonight.”
NSU outscored LC 47-15 in the second and collected 32 second-half rebounds.
Dean led all scorers with 12 points with Bolden, Jiselle Woodson and Jordan Todd each contributing 11 each. Todd also turned in her fourth straight double-double to start the season, the most consecutive double-doubles since Jasmine Bradley’s five straight during the 2010-11 season.
The Lady Demons travel to Kansas State next Saturday for an 11 a.m. start against a different set of Wildcats.
Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services