Late pushes at the end of both halves were not enough for Northwestern State to overcome its offensive woes throughout the game on Thursday night as it fell to Houston Christian 69-58.
The Lady Demons (9-11, 5-5) shot 33 percent from the field in the game with a conference low 20 percent effort from beyond the arc, converting just three deep shots in the game. HCU finished the game with a not much higher 36 percent shooting effort, thanks in large part to another solid defensive performance by the Demons, but capitalized on 17 NSU turnovers, turning them into 19 total points.
Much like the first meeting a week ago, neither team came out hot offensively. The teams combined to go 3-for-17 from the field through the first five minutes of the game with Jiselle Woodson picking up all four of NSU’s points during the stretch.
The Demons were able to keep the game close thanks to a 5-for-6 effort from the free throw line as the Huskies’ offense began to find some success late in the quarter. HCU finished the first making four of its final five field goals to take the 15-11 lead into the second.
Thanks to solid ball movement, HCU were able to find more open looks throughout the game, namely during its 8-0 run early in the second quarter that put them ahead 23-13. Candice Parramore broke the scoreless stretch with a layup, but the Huskies added to their lead with a 3-pointer and layup on their next two possessions.
The Demons, however, took the momentum into the half by holding HCU off the scoreboard for the final three-plus minutes and cutting the lead in half. Joelle Johnson started the 7-0 run with a pair of layups and Woodson made an open 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
Johnson and Woodson accounted for 16 of NSU’s 23 first-half points.
NSU could not maintain control of the momentum into the third quarter as the Huskies started the period with a 9-2 run and a 46-30 advantage midway through the quarter. The Demons trailed by as much as 16 in the period but were able to cut the lead back down to 10 going into the fourth quarter.
Alecia Whyte made it an eight-point game on the opening possession of the fourth, grabbing one of NSU’s 16 offensive rebounds in the game, and going back up for the layup. The Huskies responded with a layup and perhaps the defining sequence of the fourth quarter ensued.
On three straight trips, HCU converted three and-1 opportunities with layups and free throws that turned an eight-point game back into a 63-47 affair.
The queen of the second half for the past three games, Johnson also got an and-1 chance during the stretch, part of her nine fourth-quarter points and new career high 22 in the game to lead the Demons.
NSU held HCU without a point for nearly five straight minutes at the end of the quarter, but scored just eight on its own during the stretch as HCU stretched the clock with each of its offensive possessions.
Along with Johnson’s career high scoring effort, Bengisu Alper picked up a career high with 11 rebounds. Both Parramore and Woodson also finished in double figures for the Demons.