Lady Demons win third straight thanks to late heroics

MONROE – Northwestern State used every bit of the fight and resiliency it showed in the past two games to pull out a 76-72 win at ULM on Wednesday night.

The win was the third straight non-conference road victory for the Lady Demons (6-3), a feat not done since the 1988-89 season.

Although the Lady Demons never trailed in the fourth quarter, a nearly seven-minute stretch without a field goal left the door open for ULM (4-8) to create tense moments in the final minute of the game.

Jordan Todd gave the Lady Demons an eight-point lead with a layup a minute into the final period. Thanks to the perfect free throw shooting over the next seven minutes, the closest ULM got to taking the lead during the stretch was a jumper with 2:29 to go that made it a 69-67 game.

Todd grabbed an offensive rebound 25 seconds later and kicked it out to a wide-open Monette Bolden who drained the 3-pointer, the final three points of her career-high 21 in the game, that ended the drought and set up the exciting finish.

The Warhawks scored two more times in the final minutes, but the Lady Demons answered both with the pivotal shot coming from the right hand of Jiselle Woodson with six second left as the shot clock expired to create the 76-72 final score.

“We had some missed opportunities on the defensive side late in the fourth quarter that allowed them to get some open looks but the girls did a great job down the stretch,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “Right now with their fight and determination it’s about not having to do much other than manage the clock, manage them and keep them even-keeled because they are fighting and have proven it in three straight games. They’re never out. We might get down but they’re not out.”

The Lady Demons finished the game with a cold stretch from the floor but spent the majority of the night lighting up the scoreboard.

After a slow start to the game, trying to diagnose the ULM defense, NSU finished the first quarter on a 7-0 run and went 4-for-5 from the field over the final five minutes to take a comfortable 22-13 lead. The Lady Demons made five 3-pointers in the first quarter and were 7-for-9 from deep before missing the final two attempts of the half.

Woodson knocked down a triple just before the media timeout in the second quarter, part of an 8-0 run that gave NSU its largest lead of the game at 36-22. Jasmin Dixon ended the half on a perfect pick-and-roll from Candice Parramore that made it 42-33.

NSU shot 51 percent from the field and 64 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.

The Warhawks came out swinging in the third quarter with an 8-0 run in just over a minute to cut the lead down to one. A minute later JaMiya Braxton and Karmelah Dean made back-to-back shots to stretch the lead back to two possessions by the third quarter media break.

Another push from ULM, this time with seven straight points, once again made it a one-point game in the final minute of the quarter. Parramore answered the ULM free throws that closed the gap with two of her own eight seconds later.

Playing for the final shot after grabbing a rebound on the defensive end, Bolden took matters into her own hands with a sharp ball fake to create an open look from the right side. The mid-range jumper fell through the net with Bolden drawing the foul with 0.7 seconds left in the quarter. The grad transfer sunk the free throw to give the Lady Demons the lead (63-57) and the momentum heading into the exciting final quarter.

“I don’t know much more to say than she’s got ice in her veins,” Nimz said. “She has that maturity about herself and that extra confidence level that you need, and a coach is very fortunate to have on the team. We have a few kids that I feel good having the ball when the game is on the line, she’s definitely one of them.”

Bolden led all scorers with 21 points while Woodson finished with 19, including the game-sealing jumper. The duo went a combined 14-for-25 from the field in the game and 6-for-7 from beyond the arc.

NSU returns to Prather Coliseum for the first time since Nov. 19 on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game with Tarleton State, the final home game of the 2021 portion of the schedule.

Photo: ULM Athletics