Lady Demons spread the wealth in win against Arkansas Baptist

It was raining outside and inside of Prather Coliseum, as Northwestern State put up shot after shot from beyond the arc in a 79-41 win against Arkansas Baptist on Saturday afternoon. 

The Lady Demons (2-3) attempted 30 shots from deep in the game, the fourth most in a game under head coach Anna Nimz, converting on 10 in the game, each one benefiting from one of the 20 total assists in the game. 

NSU had 20 assists on 26 made field goals in the game. 

“I think the girls came out with confidence,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “Watching them warm up they were shooting really well, and it showed in the game. We were able to take, and make, more 3s today than we have all season and see some kids gets some shots to fall that I think will continue after today.  

“We had 20 assists today and it’s really nice to see selfless basketball. We’re still correcting ourselves and focusing on us through this stretch of games. Part of that is being selfless on the court and prideful about how we do it. I think 20 assists is a good start on that front.” 

NSU’s first two field goals of the game came from behind the arc as Shelby Rayner opened things with a triple on a feed from Sharna Ayres. The Aussie connection struck again on the next possession as Ayres drilled a 3 from Rayner’s pass to get the offense as a whole into a rhythm. 

Rayner started the 9-2 run near the end of the first quarter with her second 3-pointer of the period that gave the Demons the 20-8 lead after the first 10 minutes. 

Arkansas Baptist had its best quarter of the game offensively in the second, shooting 38 percent and going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. The Demons however finished the half with a flurry making two more 3s on back-to-back possessions from Rayner and Bengisu Alper and getting a layup from Garbrielle Robinson-Forde to close on an 8-2 run at the break.  

NSU’s run continued into the second half and grew to a 19-4 advantage after scoring 11 of the first 13 points of the third quarter. Ayres opened with one of the handful of fast-break baskets off quick steals and Candice Parramore was fouled on three straight drives to the basket. She went 6-for-6 on those three trips to the line and the Demons finished the game 17-for-23 from the stripe. 

Jiselle Woodson, Joelle Johnson and Kelsey Thaxton all knocked down 3-pointers in the third quarter with Thaxton’s her first as a Demons coming as time expired in the period. 

She made another on the first offensive possession of the fourth quarter, thanks to assists from Johnson and Rayner, and finished the game with seven points, one of the 14 Lady Demons to play and score in the game. 

“We definitely can be unstoppable,” Thaxton said about the dynamic nature of the offense with the ball movement it had. “We feed off of each other whenever we share the ball. That’s what we need to do every game. Today we really got excited seeing how things can look when we do share it like we did today. Now that we’ve seen it outside of practice, I think it’ll be easier to keep it going.” 

Freshman Madison Moles joined Thaxton in scoring her first bucket as a Demon, taking a drop off pass from Ivona Miljanic late in the fourth quarter. 

“Minutes are definitely an earned thing for us and it was fun to see how excited everyone was for whoever scored,” Nimz said. “When you can rally around each other it’s only going to allow for more positive things to happen.” 

Rayner led NSU with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 from deep. Five other players had seven or more points in the game and six different players had two or more assists. 

Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services