Northwestern State defense suffocates Southeastern in regular-season finale win

NATCHITOCHES – Gritty, not pretty.

That’s how Northwestern State coach Anna Nimz described the Lady Demons’ 56-51 win against Southeastern on Saturday as NSU’s defense dug in its heels against the best-shooting team in the Southland Conference.

NSU (12-13, 5-9 SLC) had already locked in the No. 6 seed in the SLC Tournament while SLU had a chance at a share of the regular season title.

But the Lady Demons forced SLU to shoot 32 percent from the field against a team that beat NSU by 34 points to start SLC play back on Jan. 15.

“We played with tremendous effort in that we were flying around, and we had great communication for the most part,” said Nimz, who won the season finale this past season, but it was the team’s first win of that season. “We still had some slip ups in players getting behind us, but we focused on playing hard and with a purpose, and I thought we had more poise today than we had been playing with.

“We wanted to end this regular season the way we ended last year’s, but it’s great to know that our season isn’t over.”

NSU held SLU to just 11 fourth-quarter points as the Lady Demons used a JaMiya Braxton surge and protected that lead at the free-throw line.

Down 45-44 with six minutes remaining, Braxton scored eight straight NSU points, including two 3-pointers, and NSU never trailed from there. NSU made 5-18 3-pointers, but each trey came at critical times.

Braxton’s second 3-pointer handed NSU a 52-49 edge with three minutes remaining and held the Lady Lions to just one field goal for the remainder of the game.

She was one of three Lady Demons in double figures with 11 points, joining Candice Parramore (12 points) and Monette Bolden (11 points).

Parramore scored all 12 of her points in the second half, including 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.

NSU sunk 21-31 from the charity stripe to help offset a 33 percent shooting night that included 20 turnovers.

“Parramore had an off shooting night (1-10), but she showed why she’s one of the best free-throw shooters in the country,” Nimz said of Parramore. “We had contributions from everybody tonight, and we battled on the boards, losing that by one.

“The fans were great today, especially down the stretch, so we’re very appreciative of the atmosphere all season.”

With SLU holding its biggest lead of the game at 40-34, Bolden converted a big three-point play that sparked a 7-0 NSU run.

Jordan Todd tied a career high with 15 rebounds to add to five points.

SLU’s Caitlyn Williams scored a game-high 18 points on 8-12 shooting with Chrissy Brown adding 10 points and 11 rebounds.

But the Lady Lions shot just 2-17 from 3-point range, and NSU denied SLU of much-needed buckets in the waning minutes.

The Lady Demons survived 11 first-half turnovers by forcing SLU to shoot 35 percent from the field with eight turnovers itself.

NSU attacked the basket with ferocity in the second quarter, generating 12 free-throw attempts in the second period after none in the first quarter. But the Lady Demons made just five of those attempts. SLU shot 5-6 from the line and finished 9-16.

Jiselle Woodson scored five of her nine points in the second quarter to help usher NSU through a scoring drought.

The Lady Demons will play No. 7 seed UNO on Thursday in the SLC Tournament after the Privateers edged Nicholls 72-67.

CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services