McNeese women hold off Nicholls for 77-68 victory

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THIBODAUX — McNeese women’s basketball held off a late rally here Thursday night to pick up its first road win of the season, a 77-68 Southland Conference win over Nicholls to improve to 6-11 overall and 3-3 in the SLC. The loss drops Nicholls to 4-13 overall and 1-5 in league play. Both teams will square off again in Lake Charles this Saturday.

McNeese placed four players in double figure scoring for the fifth straight game. Divine Tanks and Autumn Watts led the way with 13 points apiece. Paris Mullins came off the bench to score 11 and Desirae Hansen ended the game with 10.

The Cowgirls also had three players with at least six rebounds. Hansen led the way with eight boards while Tanks and Alicia Falkowska both pulled down six apiece.

With the score tied at 37 at the half, McNeese came out in the second half and outscored Nicholls 24-9 in the quarter, matching its highest scoring output in the third quarter this season.

“We played really well in the third quarter,” said head coach Lynn Kennedy. “Our defensive intensity got us stops and that confidence carried over to the offensive end and we were able to extend the lead.”

McNeese looked like it was going to cruise to the win after taking its largest lead of the game (71-52) with 6:09 left in the game. Nicholls would then go on an 11-1 run within a two minute span to cut the Cowgirl lead to five points (72-67) with 2:23 to play.

“Give them credit for their run in the fourth quarter but it’s the second straight game we continued playing at a high level to finish the game.”

The Cowgirls didn’t have their best free throw shooting night but they made them when it counted. McNeese scored its final five points of the game from the free throw to seal the win.

1Q – McNeese opened the game with an early 7-5 lead then following a media timeout, went on a 5-0 run to lead 12-7. McNeese held a 20-15 lead at the end of the quarter. Cowgirls shot 60.0 percent from the field (9 of 15) including 40 percent from three-point range.

2Q – McNeese led 23-17 early in the quarter before Nicholls outscored McNeese 9-3 to tie the game at 26 all midway through the quarter. McNeese put together an 11-6 run to lead 37-25 but Nicholls would score the last five points of the quarter to tie the game at 37-37 all which was the halftime score. McNeese cooled off in the second half and shot 43.8 percent (7 for 16) while Nicholls shot 56.3 percent from the field.

3Q – McNeese opened the second half with an 13-3 run to lead 50-40 to take its first double digit lead of the game. McNeese kept its foot on the pedal and pushed its lead to 59-44 following a three-pointer by Desirae Hansen and a put back by Autumn Watts. McNeese dominated the quarter by outscoring Nicholls 24-9. The 24 points ties the most points scored in the third quarter by the Cowgirls this season.

4Q – McNeese led 71-56 with 4:43 left in the game but Nicholls outscored McNeese 11-1 in a two minute stretch to pull to with five points (72-67) with 2:23 to play. McNeese would go on to score its final five points from the free throw line to come away with the win.

– The win is the first road win of the season for the Cowgirls
– The 24 third quarter points ties the most points scored in the third quarter by the Cowgirls this season.
– For the fifth straight game, McNeese had at least three players score in double figures.
– Autumn Watts and Divine Tanks led McNeese in scoring with 13 points apiece. Paris Mullins came off the bench to score 11 and Desirae Hansen scored 10 points.

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