WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Colonels take Southland opener at Northwestern State, 79-63

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NATCHITOCHES, La. — A strong defensive effort and transition buckets by the Nicholls State University women’s basketball team led to a rare road win in the series against Northwestern State, as the Colonels started Southland Conference play with a 79-63 victory Thursday night in Prather Coliseum.

With the win, Nicholls improved to 6-6 overall and more important, 1-0 in league play. The victory was just the third in Natchitoches in the all-time series, which dates back to 1975. The Colonels last won at Prather in 2012.

Northwestern State (5-7, 0-1 SLC) had 31 turnovers in the loss, with Nicholls recording 16 steals. The turnovers made way for easy layups as Nicholls had a 16-4 advantage in fast-break points.

Cassidy Barrios finished with a game-high 23 points and recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 13 rebounds. Tykeria Williams had 13 points and hit three 3-pointers, and Marina Lilly poured in 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

The game was tied at the end of the first, but Nicholls used a 9-0 run to grab the lead. They went into the intermission with a 28-22 lead and outscored the Lady Demons by five points in the third and fourth quarters to pick up the win.

Nicholls dished out 16 assists on 23 made field goals, finishing the night with a 44.2 shooting clip from the field. Tia Charles matched her career-high with eight assists and had just two turnovers, and added eight points. One of her buckets highlighted an early surge in the third for the Colonels as Nicholls grabbed a 36-24 lead.

NSU trimmed the deficit to eight points later in the quarter, but it was as close as the Lady Demons would get the rest of the way. Nicholls continued to be the aggressors on offense, resulting in 35 free throw attempts, compared to only nine by NSU. The Colonels made 25 of 29 after the break and finished at 82.9 percent for the game. Barrios was nearly perfect at the line, missing just one of 14 attempts.

Nicholls entered the contest with an 11.7 steal per game average before matching its second-high total of the season. Barrios matched her personal-best with six steals, while four other players had two each.

NSU had three players score in double figures, led by 14 from Libba Gilliam. Both teams shot 44 percent and Nicholls had a 36-29 advantage in rebounding.


The Colonels stay on the road with a matchup in San Antonio versus UIW on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

For the latest news on Colonel women’s basketball, follow the team on Twitter @Nicholls_WBB.

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