TULSA, Okla. – Northwestern State plays its final nonconference game of the season on Monday in one final opportunity to find its rhythm and stability before Southland Conference play begins at the end of the month.
The Lady Demons (4-5) will look for a bounce-back type performance against a stout Tulsa (8-3) offense beginning at 6 p.m. on ESNP+. The game can also be heard with free streaming audio available at www.nsudemons.com.
“We need to continue to grow in our ability to play through adversity,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “And on top of that, find consistency in our play is definitely key for our success. When we play together, lots of players are touching the ball and everyone is celebrating one another.”
That sentiment never more evident than in NSU’s two most recent games.
After a season-best 51 percent shooting performance from the field against the Warhawks, the Lady Demons had its second-lowest field goal percentage in a game this year against Tarleton State. The primary difference between the two being constant shifts in the lineup due to foul trouble and multiple scoring drought scattered throughout the game.
The Lady Demons also lost the rebounding battle for the fourth time this season, the first time against a non-Power 5 opponent, with each time the margin being at least nine rebounds. NSU is 4-1 this year and 13-5 under Nimz when winning the rebounding category.
“We need to continue to work on our philosophy there,” Nimz said. “We have to attack the glass more aggressively when rebounding on both sides of the court. If we can do that, not just against Tulsa but the rest of the season, we’re going to create more second chances for us, and limiting them to one and done.”
Against a Hurricane team that like to, and does with regularity, score from the perimeter, the rebounding opportunities for NSU, especially on the defensive end, take on an ever greater importance.
Tulsa ranks in the top five in the country in 3-pointers made per game. It is one of seven teams nationally that convert on 10 or more per game and set a new home record with 15 made 3s in its last home contest a 95-51 win against Central Arkansas.
“Tulsa, one through five, has the ability to connect from the perimeter,” Nimz said. “They’ve shot more 3s already this season that a lot of teams shoot in an entire year. They are an impressive offensive team that has an incredible IQ for the game. We have to communicate and defend their action, and then crash the boards off their perimeter play.”
Tulsa have four players with more than 40 attempts from beyond the arc this season, led by leading scorer Temira Poindexter’s 74. She is a .257 shooter from distance this year and leads the team at 14.9 points per game.
NSU had just two players with 40 or more attempts this year, Shelby Rayner (42) and Kelsey Thaxton (40). Rayner has converted on 44 percent of her shots from beyond the arc this year.