Lady Demons face Nicholls in conference tournament

LAKE CHARLES – Northwestern State has seen its fair share of success in the Southland Conference Tournament over the years. 

With 52 overall wins, second most of any team in the league, in 21 total appearances and a .612 winning percentage, best of any team in the league, and not to mention a handful of titles along the way, the Lady Demons are always a factor come postseason. 

For them to capture more of that triumph in 2023 however, they will have to make a quick turnaround with a renewed target on what lay in front of them rather than what’s behind. 

“It’s even more about one pitch at a time in the tournament and that has to be our focus,” head coach Donald Pickett said who makes his 10th trip to the postseason with NSU this year. “We can’t think about what’s happened the rest of the year or the past few weekends. We have to move forward and focus that way as well.” 

NSU will play the final game of the first day of the tournament against the No. 3 seed Nicholls scheduled for 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ live from Joe Miller Field at Cowgirl Diamond in Lake Charles. 

With just three days between the end of the regular season and the start of the conference tournament, the Demons look to turn the page quickly after a sweep at the hands of second-seeded Southeastern, in the hopes of an extended stay in Lake Charles. 

The Demons have won at least one game in the conference tournament in each of their previous eight appearances. 

The Colonels lost six of eight games in conference play prior to their season-finale home sweep of HCU which came on April 29. Nicholls has not played a game since their 2-1 extra inning win over the Huskies over a week ago. 

The two teams met early in the conference schedule with NSU nearly sweeping the Colonels in Thibodaux, falling in extra innings on the second conference weekend near the end of March. 

Makenzie Chaffin and Kenzie Seely each had one of their best performances of the season in the series against the Colonels. Chaffin had a four-hit game with two doubles, both career highs, and totaled six hits for the weekend. 

Seely threw a complete game in the 3-1 NSU win allowing just the one run and assisting in the second triple play in the past two seasons for her and the NSU defense. 

Both are also coming of quality performances in the series with Southeastern where Chaffin went 4-for-8 with a home run and three RBI and Seely threw her sixth complete game of the year holding the stout Lion offense to just three runs. 

“We’ve got to focus in on things and go back over what we did well or didn’t do well the first time we played,” Pickett said. “Both of us are different teams now than when we saw each other earlier in the season. We’ll do some scouting and looking at film of what they’ve been doing lately but the most important thing for us right now is to know that this is a new season.” 

During Pickett’s tenure, NSU lost its only other meeting with Nicholls in the postseason in the NSU-hosted 2011 tournament.