Todd’s monster game fuels win against McNeese

All the shots that hadn’t been falling for Northwestern State over the past five games found their homes on Saturday in a much needed 90-72 win against rival McNeese.

The Lady Demons (10-10, 3-6) shot 53 percent from the field in the game, a season high, with first and third quarter totals over 60 percent by dominating play around the basket. Jordan Todd recorded her fifth double-double of the season, seemingly scoring at will, and finished the game with 28 points, a new career high, on 13-of-17 shooting and 11 rebounds.

Fellow post player Jasmin Dixon added a career-high 11 points as NSU had four players reach double figures, three of which scoring more than 15 in the game.

“In addition to how good Jordan is down low, she’s also so selfless that she created possessions for other players,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “To the guard’s credit, they moved without the ball, something they hadn’t done as good a job of the past five games. We saw things come to light that way and they saw the success from it so it helps them continue to buy into that.”

The strategy was clear from the opening tip that the Lady Demons were going to attack the basket, with Todd at the tip of the spear. She started the game making six of her first eight attempts, racking up 11 points in less than five minutes of the first quarter. She finished the quarter with 13 and NSU needed every one as the frenetic pace of the first 10 minutes led to a shooting gallery for both teams.

McNeese (9-13, 4-5) matched NSU shot-for-shot in the first quarter keeping pace primarily with the 3-pointer that they are known for. The Cowgirls made five shots from behind the arc in the first quarter and only trailed by a pair, 25-23, at the end of the period.

The second quarter start for the Lady Demons was Candice Parramore who opened the period with a pair 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the quarter to push NSU’s lead to 31-25. It was her jumper with 1:45 remaining in the half, her 10th points of the frame, that were the first of seven NSU points to end the half.

Todd put a cherry on her 15-point first half with another layup with six seconds left to give NSU the 47-40 edge at the break, matching her previous best scoring nights of the season in 15 minutes of first-half action.

A 9-2 run started the third quarter, capped by the bucket that gave Todd a new career best, putting the Lady Demons up 56-42 just over two minutes into the half.

“Coach was talking to us before the game saying that she believed in us and the team was behind us,” Todd said. “So, having that no pressure mentality was really good for us.

“I’m just excited that I was able to get my career high with this team in particular. We said before the game that we could not lose this game because five in a row is already a lot. So, we said we had to go out there and put it all on the floor tonight and that’s what we did.”

The Lady Demons were able to create some distance between themselves and McNeese in the quarter, thanks to a long 3-point drought by the Cowgirls and another exceptional shooting quarter for NSU.

After making five deep shots in the first quarter, McNeese went more than 17 minutes without a 3-pointer as NSU continued to rack up paint points in the second half. Twenty of the 25 points for NSU in the first quarter came inside the paint and 18 of the 28 in the third were from the same area.

By the end of the third NSU had built a 75-55 lead and held it through a lengthy fourth quarter that included multiple official reviews and nearly 20 foul calls between the teams.

“I think the difference tonight was we were able to get some high-percentage shots that gave them early confidence,” Nimz said. “They rallied around that and played a complete game together, maybe not 40 minutes, but a complete game together. It’s exciting but we still have a lot to learn, we had some turnovers there in the last little bit that If we didn’t have the lead would have made things a little tighter, but we can grow from that and learn from it for UIW on Thursday.”

Woodson and Parramore joined Todd and Dixon with double-digit points, scoring 16 and 19 respectively. Monette Bolden matched a career high with nine assists as NSU reached the 20-assist mark for the second time this season.

The win snaps a five-game conference losing streak as the Lady Demons embark on their final regular season road trip of the season next week beginning with UIW on Thursday night.

“Our game keys for today were believe in your ability, win at all cost, trust and play through your team,” Nimz said. “We continued to reiterate how much we believe in them and this is what this team is capable of when you put 35 plus minutes of basketball together. I’m happy for the staff, I’m really happy for the girls and I think this is what we need to continue to grow.”

PHOTO: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Service