Second-half turnovers too costly for Lady Demons against HBU

After a blistering finish to the second quarter, Northwestern State had all the momentum entering the second half, but nine second-half turnovers that led to 12 HBU points proved the difference in a 52-42 loss on Thursday night.

“It made it hard, even on really good possession, to stay in the rhythm of the game,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “They’d make really good plays, make a stop on defense and then maybe we turn it over and they capitalized on it. They scored 17 points off our turnovers and that’s just hard to win when you’re giving the ball up.”

It took more than a quarter and a half for either team to find consistent effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball as the defenses on both sides forced tough shot after tough shot.

The Huskies (10-9, 6-2) made a 3-pointer coming out of the media timeout to go ahead 7-6, their only field goal in 10 attempts surrounding the break. The Lady Demons (9-10, 2-6) went 1-out-of-5 in a similar stretch after Jordan Todd made a wide-open layup after a crisp bounce pass from JaMiya Braxton.

A late 3 from the Huskies gave them the 12-8 lead after the first 10 minutes where both teams shot less than 26 percent from the field.

The deep shot to end the first was the first of three straight for the Huskies in the game as the first two of the second quarter found the net pushing their lead to double figures and forcing an early NSU timeout.

After a more than three minutes scoreless stretch by both teams the Lady Demons found a hot streak thanks to Jiselle Woodson. She broke the game’s scoring drought with a jumper from the baseline igniting a 14-0 run for the Lady Demons to close the half.

Woodson’s back-to-back 3-poiners, the only two conversions of the night for NSU, gave her eight of the 12 points that were scored in a stretch of five straight possessions where NSU did not miss a shot. A jumper in the paint from Jasmin Dixon capped the run and gave the Lady Demons a 24-20 lead going into halftime.

A week ago, HBU was able to carry its 12-0 run to end the half into the second quarter, adding 11 more to start the third. The Lady Demons weren’t able to return the favor on Thursday, and although they held the Huskies without a point for more than nine minutes and without a field goal for nearly 10, HBU quickly erased the slim lead in the third quarter.

Monette Bolden scored the first six points for NSU in the third quarter, doing so in six minutes of game time, to cling to the four-point lead. But just two field goal attempts and four turnovers in the final four minutes of the quarter allowed HBU to fight its way back into the lead, finishing the quarter with a 9-1 run.

A layup from Todd and a pair of free throws from Candice Parramore to start the fourth evened the game at 35, but the cold shooting continued to haunt NSU the rest of the way.

Despite going 3-for-14 from the field in the fourth quarter, Bolden’s layup after collecting her game-best 12threbound that gave her a second straight double-double had NSU only down by three with five minutes remaining.

Two HBU free throws, that followed the first of three straight NSU turnovers, led to a 7-0 Husky run, the dagger coming on a 3-pointer with 2:30 left in the game that made it 50-40.

NSU held HBU to one of their lowest field goal percentages of the season of .304, but finished the game making less than 20 percent from the field in the second half.

“I’d love to say we’re a defensively driven team right now, but I think we’re offensively minded and unfortunately we’re not scoring,” Nimz said. “It’s making it hard for the girls, but I think they’re trying. I think that they put forth a lot of effort, it’s just not showing on the win-loss column.”

Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services