Lady Demons find a way for seventh win

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State fought through the expected rust that accompanied a near month-long layoff between games to come away with a 79-67 victory against Champion Christian on Tuesday night. The win gives NSU their seventh on the season, matching the best start through 11 games since 2005-06.

“A win is a win and we’re going to take it and run and run fast,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “Champion Christian came out and were the better team. They were the aggressor right from the jump, knocked down some shots and gave us all we wanted and then some. They had our backs against the wall so really happy that we were able to pull out the win, but the credit definitely goes to them.”

The Lady Demons (7-4) fell behind quickly after three of the first five shots fell for Champion Christian (7-3) who jumped out to an 8-2 lead two minutes into the game. The lead swelled to 12 on a couple of different occasions over the next four minutes before Candice Parramore provided a needed spark from the defensive end.

After knocking down a pair of free throws, Parramore swiped a pass and sprinted the other way for an easy layup to begin the 10-3 that eliminated the early deficit. Parramore had seven of the 10 points in the stretch that made it a 28-24 game after the first 10 minutes.

“She’s a really fast player and definitely gave us a spark,” Nimz said. “They made some nice passes throughout the night so in that regard I thought the effort was there. She was getting out in front of the ball and did a good job on the rebounding side of things as well. That was something as a whole we’ve been harping on, so I was happy to see that tide turn some tonight.”

The run that closed the first carried into the second and NSU took its first lead of the game on a Monette Bolden triple from the left wing 45 seconds into the second quarter. The lead changed hands three times in the next minute until Parramore once again produced a flurry of points.

She scored back-to-back baskets on sharp passes from Jiselle Woodson and Alecia Whyte that started a 7-0 burst to put NSU up by six at the 7:03 mark. The offense hit a snag after that only managing six more points on 3-of-14 shooting to finish he half.

The Lady Tigers worked their way back even at 44 by the end of the quarter despite just a 3-for-11 finish to the half of their own.

NSU used some early second half sharpshooting to take the advantage starting the third quarter. Josie Fleischmann drained a pair of 3s within the first three minutes to put NSU up 52-46. Another from Jamiya Braxton after the midway point put the Lady Demons ahead by double figures for the first time.

The pesky Tigers pulled to within four with consecutive three-point possessions, but the Lady Demons seized the momentum heading into the fourth quarter with a late and-1 chance from Whyte and a Jasmin Dixon blocked shot at the quarter buzzer.

It was once again the deep shots that propelled the Lady Demons in the final quarter. Two more triples from Fleischmann within a minute of each other in the fourth and a banked in shot from the left wing from Woodson put NSU up by its largest margin of 18 with 5:11 remaining.

The Lady Tigers answered Woodson’s bank shot with a 3-point dagger of their own scoring 10 straight points to once again cut the lead down to single digits. Woodson stopped the run with a jumper with a minute to go allowing four free throws down the stretch to secure the 12-point victory.

“They fought to the end and found a way to get it done,” Nimz said. “While I may not be overly thrilled with some of the play it doesn’t mean I’m not proud of them. At the end of the day we’re walking away with our seventh win and that’s hats off to them. We still have a lot of learning to do, but kids are stepping up and we still had a lot of positives from tonight’s game.”

Parramore led all scorers with 20 points, her third 20-point game of the season, and Woodson finished with 18 and a career-high eight assists. Bolden filled the stat sheet with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Fleischmann scored a career-high 12. Five different players had five or more rebounds in the game led by Jordan Todd’s 12.

Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services