Multiple Lady Demon runs fall short at McNeese

LAKE CHARLES – After a slow start to begin both halves, Northwestern State made scoring runs that drew the game back within a handful of points but never managed to break through against McNeese in a 77-60 loss on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Demons (9-9, 2-5) erased a 15-point deficit by the end of the first half and had the score down to a six-point margin early in the fourth, after trailing by 13 late in the third, on a Jordan Todd layup and foul.

A missed free throw that would have made it a five-point game, cracked the door for McNeese (9-11, 4-3) to score the next six straight points and go on a 9-2 scoring burst that pushed the lead back to 13, a margin the Lady Demons could not overcome.

The Cowgirls began the game with a similar stretch to take an 11-3 lead in the first quarter on a 7-0 run, four minutes into the game. The Lady Demons began to find their offensive rhythm late in the period, scoring seven in the final two minutes that served as the precursor to a massive second period.

The strategy became evident early in the period as the Lady Demons began feeding the post, allowing Todd and Jasmin Dixon to work around the basket. Todd scored on two straight possessions, for four of her 13 points, that brought NSU closer at 31-22.

Her baskets were the meat of the 10-0 run leading up to the media timeout. Monette Bolden dropped in a jumper just before the break to make it a five-point game. She added seven more before the end of the half, all on consecutive trips.

After Todd’s layup with just over a minute left made it a three-point game, Josie Fleischmann weaved through traffic for an offensive rebound and put back that brought NSU all the back to a 39-38.

The Cowgirls however took the momentum into the half as a near half-court shot banked off the glass and in at the buzzer to push their lead to four at the break.

“We were able to feed Jordan or Jasmin the ball left and right and McNeese didn’t really make an adjustment,” head coach Anna Nimz said about the 24-point second quarter. “For some reason we went away from it and that’s something we’re going to have to talk about, but it was a great second quarter.

“We came all the way back to 39-38 and the girl comes across half court and banks in a 3 and that hurt, but the first thing we said in the locker room was that happens. Sometimes that’s basketball, and we’ve got to play through the possessions.”

NSU shot nearly 70 percent from the field in the period, going 11-for-16 from the field and completely flipped the points in the paint total from the first quarter, scoring 16 of the 24 in the painted area.

After just four turnover the entire first half, two within the first two minutes of the third quarter set McNeese off on an 8-0 run that immediately pushed their lead back to double figures to start the second half.

It stayed at 13 until the final two minutes of the period when NSU used one of their strengths, free throw shooting, to score the final five points of the quarter and making it a 58-50 game entering the final period.

Todd’s layup made it a 7-0 run at the beginning of the fourth, but the McNeese answer came once again, leading to NSU’s fourth straight conference loss.

“It’s a mind thing for us more than anything right now,” Nimz said. “We’ve got the speed, we’ve got the talent, we’ve got the kids that can go, we’ve got shooters, all this stuff but we need to get it squared away more mentally.

“It’s our fourth loss in a row and we’re feeling, you know the girls are feeling it 10 times more. We still believe in the them and I think the more they play and we watch film the better they’re going to get.

Bolden led all players with 19 points and 13 rebounds, recording her first career double-double with a career-high effort on the glass. Both Todd and Candice Parramore chipped in 13 points as three Lady Demons reached double digits for the first time since the win at New Orleans.

Photo: McNeese Athletics