Women’s Basketball — Efficient Privateers hold off Lady Demons down the stretch

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NEW ORLEANS – The Northwestern State women’s basketball team showed flashes of a rally in the second half but were ultimately overpowered in the trenches in an 84-73 Southland Conference loss to New Orleans on Wednesday night at Lakefront Arena.

The Privateers (8-12, 4-7) grabbed 43 rebounds including 15 on offense, while scoring more than half of their points in the paint. The Lady Demons (7-14, 2-8) led early in the game but a string of UNO runs was too much to overcome down the stretch.

“We talk about consistency in our pre-game speech. We have to be consistent and we haven’t done that in any aspect,” third-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “Things we went over, we didn’t execute, and we just didn’t make winning plays.”

The game began quickly with NSU nailing a trio of 3-pointers, including a pair off steals, to make it 9-2 and force an early UNO timeout. That momentum carried the Lady Demons to a 22-20 lead heading into the second.

The game stayed close throughout the second quarter, but a Whitley Larry layup at the buzzer gave the Privateers a 36-35 advantage at the break.

UNO opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run before a Sami Thomas 3-pointer sparked a 6-2 run for the Lady Demons. In similar fashion, the fourth began with an 8-0 run for the home team. Despite an aggressive push that saw NSU pull within six on two occasions, the deficit was too much to overcome late in the game.

“They made winning plays and stepped up. They attacked the backside of our press, got the ball inside to their post, and finished, we didn’t,” Dupuy said. “The mental focus has to be there and there’s times when we lack that. Once we find that consistency, we’ll be able to pull out these types of games.”

The Privateers were led by a double-double performance from Shania Woods, who delivered game highs of 29 points and 13 rebounds. As a team, UNO blocked 10 shots, connected on 50 percent of its shots from the field (27-for-54).

The Privateers were even better in the final quarter, hitting 7 of 9 shots from the field, a 77.8-percent clip.

Nautica Grant led Northwestern State with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Grant’s hot hand helped the Lady Demons establish a season high for 3-pointers in a game with 12 – the most since NSU set a school single-game record with 14 at Southeastern Louisiana on Feb. 25, 2016.

Victoria Miller tied her career high with 14 points and added six rebounds and four steals while freshman RaVon Nero scored 10 of her 12 points in the first quarter. Nero has reached double figures in a career-long five straight games.

The Lady Demons wrap up their season-long, three-game road stretch this Saturday at McNeese. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. inside the new Health and Human Performance Complex on McNeese’s campus.

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