HAMMOND – The buzz word within the Northwestern State women’s basketball team over the past few weeks has been clear – confidence.
The ever-growing mindset that starts with individual players and their own abilities on the floor has fully begun to expand to the entire team, evidenced by one of the better all-around performances in the road win at Nicholls.
“Collectively we did a really nice job in that game,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “What we can’t impress upon them enough is the more we can correct ourselves, and our own issues, the sky’s the limit for this group. We’ve got some inside kids, got some outside kids, some dribble-drive kids and I think what we’ve seen is more buy-in progressively more and more each game.”
With two more road games scheduled for this weekend, the Lady Demons (7-8, 3-2) not only want to maintain that level of confidence but have an opportunity to build on it.
NSU travels to Southeastern for a 5 p.m. tip on Thursday. The game can be seen on ESPN+ with free live streaming audio also available at www.nsudemons.com/watch.
A season low turnover total, a major point of emphasis for the Lady Demons over the past several games, plus contributions up and down the roster made for one of the more complete games and efforts of the season.
The Lady Demons shot better than 41 percent from the floor for the third time in the past four games and had eight players contribute five or more points.
Candice Parramore inserted an early jolt to the offense in her return from injury, scoring 11 of her team-leading 18 point in the first quarter. Kelsey Thaxton put in 11 in the game and Joelle Johnson extended her double-digit scoring streak to four straight games.
The excitement for the Lady Demons lies in the fact that the scorers that have been carrying the team the past few games, got some reinforcements. The Sharna Ayres, Jiselle Woodsons and Shelby Rayners of the world will not be held down offensively for long stretches.
Only a handful of minutes saw any sort of sustained success by the Colonel offense, which was quickly snuffed out by a confident and in-position NSU defense.
“Defense has to be the catalyst for our success on the other end of the ball,” Nimz said. “It’s the only thing you really can control. You can be a great shooter and just have an off night, that’s part of it. But you can control defense and I think that’s building that confidence and buy-in to what our philosophy is on both ends of the floor.”
As with every game in the Southland Conference, the defense will be tested once again on Thursday. The Lady Lions have the lowest turnover rate in the conference and play a very meticulous offense that helps them control the ball.
Alexius Horne leads the team with a 12.7 per game average and is has scored in double-figures in eight of the past nine games, including a 20-point outing in SLU’s win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Southeastern has scored the least point in the conference through the first five games at 53.8 per. However, they sit in fourth in the league in field goal percentage making 40 percent of their shot attempts.
“We’re not as concerned in forcing turnovers as we are in forcing teams, especially ones like Southeastern, to back bad shots,” Nimz said. “To me that is as good as a turnover. If they’re eating up the clock and we force a shot that maybe they don’t want to take, we’ll take that over getting steals and gambling for the ball.”