THIBODAUX – Northwestern State set the tone in the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s game at Nicholls and did not let up in the final 30.
The Lady Demons (7-8, 3-2) forced eight first-quarter turnovers and turned them into a 19-4 run that propelled them to the 76-64 win over the Colonels. It is the third straight Southland Conference win for NSU, matching the longest streak since the 2015-16 season.
“They played their tails off defensively today,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “They were able to get up, guard the ball and bought into what we were trying to do as a team. Nicholls is an incredible tough team and they had momentum coming off that overtime win Thursday. We took the air out early, pushed it in transition and executed the game plan.”
Bengisu Alper started the tone-setting run with a layup early in the quarter, but things didn’t really kick into gear until after the media timeout.
With the defense getting stop after stop on its end, allowing no easy shots along the way, Candice Parramore provided the spark the offense needed with four minutes to go in the quarter.
In her first real action since the start of conference play following a foot injury, the first of Parramore’s back-to-back 3s served as the final lead change of the game putting NSU up 13-8 at the time. She scored 10 straight points for the Demons at that point, finishing the quarter with 11, with NSU leading 21-10 in the game.
This was the first time I’ve really dealt with any kind of injury playing basketball, so it was definitely challenging mentally,” Parramore said. “But to be able to go out there and challenge myself to go in with confidence was important today.”
The Lady Demons kept the pedal down in the second quarter with more sharpshooting from beyond the arc.
Kelsey Thaxton knocked down a pair of 3s on two of three possessions early in the quarter and Parramore made another just before the midpoint. The Lady Demons went 6-for-17 from deep in the first half, cooling off in the second to finish the game 8-for-28.
Karmelah Dean, also in her return to action in two months after a foot injury, cut through the Nicholls defense for a layup to start a 10-2 NSU run to finish the half. Alecia Whyte scored on a layup and free throw and Joelle Johnson hit a jumper and capped the run with a transition 3-pointer to make it a 42-25 NSU lead at the half.
Alper and Sharna Ayres both hit shots in the third quarter that gave the Lady Demons their largest lead of the game of 20. Alper’s 3-pointer 45 seconds into the half was the first and Ayres’ did it again with 5:48 left in the third.
“Things are really starting to click right now I think,” Parramore said. “We’re getting more comfortable with each other as players over the past several games. We’re finding each other and everybody is playing their role. Once that really clicks into place down the road, we can be a really scary team.
The Lady Demons shot better than 41 percent from the field for the second straight game and the third time in the last four, had three players score in double figures in the game with eight scoring five or more and nearly forced their opponent into 20 turnovers for the fifth straight game, forcing 19 against the Colonels.
“We’ve won three in a row now, continually making moves in the right direction and getting a couple kids back makes that bench a little bit longer,” Nimz said. “Everybody on the team capitalized on their role today and did a good job from start to finish.”