Lady Demons fall short against Islanders

The Northwestern State women fought with their backs against the wall for most Saturday’s game, nearly pulling off a memorable comeback, but ultimately ran out of time in a 72-55 loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The Lady Demons (9-7, 2-3) trailed by as many as 28 with four minutes left in the third quarter but were able to pull within a shot of a single-digit deficit thanks to a 20-3 run that spanned the end of the third and into the fourth.

JaMiya Braxton provided the spark that truly lit the flame with a pair of 3-pointers, one from the left wing and the other from the right corner, that injected all the energy into the team. The second triple came with less than a minute to go in the third as the Lady Demons closed the quarter with a 9-1 scoring run.

Candice Parramore carried the torch into the fourth with seven of her team-leading 18 points in the first four minutes of the period. It was her free throws at the 6:19 mark that capped a 9-0 NSU run and made it a 59-48 game.

The Lady Demons went 5-for-9 from the field during the 10-minute stretch and 10-for-12 from the free throw line.

“I just believe this group is capable of anything when they fight together the way they did,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “It’s fun being around that kind of passion. The score is not indicative of the fight.”

With all the momentum on their side, two costly turnovers followed by two fouls gave the ball right back to the Islanders (12-7, 4-1) who made all four free throws to stretch the lead back. The dagger came after a third NSU turnover on the next possession that led to a 3-pointer with 4:33 remaining pushing the Corpus lead back to 18 in the blink of an eye.

Although the 3-pointer and a layup were the only two field goals Corpus made in the final nine minutes of the game, they went 8-for-11 from the free throw line to close out the game and secure the 72-55 victory.

The Lady Demons found themselves having to work from behind after a sluggish first quarter. Jordan Todd scored all of NSU’s six points in the first 10 minutes of the game as Corpus used an 10-2 run to build a 17-6 lead. The defense forced seven Islander turnovers but had their own trouble on the offensive side with eight giveaways in the first quarter.

The Corpus lead quickly grew to 20 after back-to-back 3-pointers and a 10-3 run at the midway point of the second quarter. Monette Bolden provided a jolt near the end of the half making three of her final four shots and helping force a shot clock violation on the defensive end.

Her jumper with 48 seconds left answered a Corpus layup that resulted from two offensive rebounds and made it a 38-19 game at the half as the Islanders dominated the rebounding battle 26-10 at the half.

The early indications of a potential NSU comeback showed themselves early in the third quarter. Parramore found Todd under the basket for an easy two and then drained a 3 from the corner on the next trip. Unfortunately, the Islanders had answers for each of the NSU field goals and kept their comfortable advantage intact.

If not for a 10-3 Corpus run leading up to the media timeout, NSU’s long scoring stretch could have made the final quarter much more exciting.

Parramore finished the night going 9-for-10 from the free throw line as part of her 18 points. Todd reached double figures for the first time early in the season with 11 points as the only other NSU player to reach double figures.

“The biggest thing right now is taking these two loses this week and learning and growing from them,” Nimz said. “I told them that they have to believe in themselves and understand that we believe in them. We’ve got plenty of season left to keep growing. We’re never down and never out and that epitomizes this team.”

Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services