Women’s Basketball: Colonels knock off Spring Hill, 85-71, in exhibition

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THIBODAUX, La. – Junior Chrystal Ezechukwu led four Colonels in double figures with 18 points as the Nicholls State University women’s basketball team defeated Spring Hill College, 85-71, in an exhibition contest Thursday night in Stopher Gymnasium.

Playing in her first game for the Red and Gray, Ezechukwu made 5 of 10 from the field and 8 of 11 at the free throw line, while adding eight rebounds. Reining Southland Player of the Year Cassidy Barrios finished with 14 points, seven boards, five assists, and three steals and Airi Hamilton scored 13 points. Destiny Collins rounded out the leaders with 10 points.

Nicholls outscored the Division II Badgers, 27-12, in the second quarter to build a 49-33 advantage at the break. The visitors stormed back with a 17-4 run in the third but were never able to regain the lead.

Nicholls made 71 percent at the line for the game, but struggled in the opening period, connecting on 6 of 12 as they led Spring Hill, 22-21, after 10 minutes of play. In the second, Nicholls closed out the half with an 18-8 run, capped on a pair of free throws by Ezechukwu.

Spring Hill dominated the third quarter, closing the gap to 53-50 by shooting 7 of 8 from the field. Kinzie Heineman doubled the advantage with a 3-pointer, and Barrios added a jumper as Nicholls ended the quarter with a 58-54 lead.

Spring Hill’s Elise Reilly started the fourth with a 3-pointer, making it a one-point game, but Barrios answered with a 3-ball on her own. Ezechukwu’s followed with two more free throws, and the Colonels maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way.

Reilly led all scorers with 33 points, highlighted by a 7-of-12 performance from behind the arc. Both teams made 7 of 15 from long range, with Barrios and Adrian Mann (8 points) each making 2 of 3.

Nicholls had 13 steals in the victory and had a plus-12 margin on the boards. The Colonels collected 16 on the offensive glass for a 16-3 advantage in second-chance points.

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The Colonels open their 2018-19 campaign Tuesday, Nov. 6 at No. 4 Baylor. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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