Women’s Basketball — Cowgirls’ third-quarter 3 barrage buries Lady Demons

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LAKE CHARLES – A third quarter 3-point barrage and second half offensive miscues cost Northwestern State a 61-51 loss at the hands of McNeese on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Demons (4-11, 1-5 SLC) shot less than 30 percent in each of the final two quarters while a 4-for-6 effort by the Cowgirls (4-10, 1-4) from distance in the third quarter created enough of an edge to get them the win.

“We had 21 missed layups in the game, and we lose by 10,” fourth-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “If you make a third of those and we win the game. We’ve got to make shots right at the rim. We didn’t and they did. It’s our job as coaches to get them those looks and their job as players to finish them.”

Kira Bonner opened the scoring for the Lady Demons, after nearly two minutes of scoreless basketball to start the game. Her 3-pointer gave NSU an early 3-2 lead and began a 6-2 run that carried the teams through the first media timeout.

Leilani Moncrease and Jocelyn Scott combined for the final four points of the quarter within the final minute to put the Lady Demons up 14-12 after the opening quarter.

A 5-0 run midway through the second stretched the NSU lead to 27-21 on a layup from Victoria Miller. McNeese cut the lead down to three on a layup with 10 seconds left in the half, ending one of the better first halves of play on the season for the Lady Demons.

Moncrease provided five rebounds and five points off the bench for NSU in the first half, giving a spark of physical play that created the halftime advantage. Bonner ended the half with 11 points and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.

The McNeese adjustment was clear early in the third quarter – attack from the perimeter.

A 3-ball from Regan Bolton started the scoring for the Cowgirls a minute and a half in, leading to a 24-point frame that was the difference in the final result.

“They got hot in the second half and found their hot hand,” Dupuy said. “Some of our secondary rotations out of our trap weren’t very good. We did create turnovers but just didn’t convert on those. We can’t afford to have that.”

McNeese went 4-for-6 from distance in the third and began to assert its dominance around the glass. After playing even in the rebounding department in the first half, a focal point for the Lady Demons entering the game, McNeese won the rebound margin 26-18 in the second half.

The Cowgirls used the final five minutes of the third quarter to build a nine-point lead at 52-43 thanks to a 14-2 run, converting on six of their eight field goal attempts during that stretch. NSU went 1-for-9 over that same stretch.

The Lady Demons found four quick points in the fourth quarter on buckets from Moncrease and Scott cutting the lead down to 52-47. A Miller layup with 6:13 left made it a four-point game, with the NSU defense stepping in to provide the Lady Demons a chance at its first road win of the season.

Three McNeese turnovers over the next three minutes of play gave chance after chance for NSU to regain the lead but missed opportunities around the rim proved even more costly as time progressed.

The McNeese dagger came on another 3-pointer with 2:06 left that made it a 58-49 game. NSU went 1-for-5 the rest of the way from the floor.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the top team in the conference or the bottom team,” Dupuy said. “You’ve got to do the little things. Today it was making layups and blocking out in the second half and we didn’t get that done.

“No matter what the record is, it’s going to come down to those little things and your will to win. Our will has got to be better than theirs if we expect to come out on top.”

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