Following a frustrating 0-2 weekend road trip that saw both games have similar storylines, Northwestern State is looking that early energy as it returns home on Thursday night.
“The last two games we’ve come out slow and let the game hit us in the face instead of trying to attack the game,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “It’s something we’re all working on, coming out of the gate with a little more fight from the jump and not taking the temperature of the game, how its going to be called or things of that nature. We have to be the aggressor. We have to dictate the speed of the game. We need to be the ones managing the court.”
That will be the first goal for the Lady Demons (7-10, 3-4) as it hosts HCU at 5:30 p.m. from Prather Coliseum in the first of back-to-back Thursday matchups with the Huskies.
The game can be seen on ESPN+ and tickets are available by visiting www.nsudemons.com/
In both games on the most recent road trip, NSU scored 21 points in the first half leading to double-digit deficits against both Southeastern and New Orleans after the first 20 minutes of play.
Seventeen first half turnovers against the Lions meant plenty of missed offensive chances and long scoreless stretches against UNO allowed the lead to grow thanks to a 50 percent first-half shooting effort from the Privateers.
In both games though, the Demons showed the fight and energy they needed, and need to start with on Thursday, to climb out of the holes they found themselves in following the slow starts.
An 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter at New Orleans nearly erased the 20-point halftime deficit, getting the Demons within five points in the span of just over a minute of game time. If not for a foul call that sent UNO to the free throw line instead of the Demons the game would have gotten much more interesting and down to one possession between the teams.
Simply limiting the turnovers against the Lions provided those offensive opportunities to make it a six-point game in the third quarter.
“We had a tremendous fourth-quarter effort at UNO that got us back within five,” Nimz said. “If we would have played with that tremendous fight and even a quarter of how they did during that eight-minute stretch from the jump, it’s a different game. We tell them all the time it’s an us thing and be committed to correcting us and our mistakes.”
Turnovers continue to haunt the Demons with 18 or more in each game a week ago, more than their opponent each time. Each possession is valuable for NSU as it continues to find its form on the offensive end.
HCU (8-10, 3-4) enters the game having lost three of its last four games with a 71-52 home win against UIW on Thursday and a 57-42 loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday.
The Huskies sit third in the conference, right behind NSU, with a .348 shooting percentage from beyond the arc, with three players ranking in the top 10 in league games in 3-point percentage, the most of any school in the conference.
“You can tell that their players are bought in to the program.,” Nimz said. “They run their stuff, and they run it well. We’re going to have to play smart and be able to execute against their gameplan because they’re going to do what HCU does. We have to make sure to capitalize on our skill sets and our strengths as we continue to fine tune those turnovers.”