Women’s Basketball — Lady Demons unable to overcome Islanders inside presence

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NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State could not find the answer to a second half shift inside by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 72-59 Southland Conference loss Thursday afternoon.

The Lady Demons (3-9, 0-3) saw a 25-22 half time lead slip away as the Islanders (9-4, 3-0) production around the basket on both the offensive and defensive ends proved too much. The Islanders scored 26 points in the paint in the second half while pulling in 19 rebounds, 12 more points and nine more rebounds than NSU during that time.

“I think we implemented the defensive game plan pretty well in the first half and kept their inside game from working,” coach Jordan Dupuy said. “But we missed a lot of opportunities to expand the lead and we addressed that at half time.

“We told them that they were going to make changes and go to the paint, which they did. Give them credit, they pounded it inside, and it worked for them.”

Tristen Washington started the Lady Demons out on a big note with a 3-pointer from the top of the key after an aggressive offensive rebound from Kira Bonner. NSU maintained its lead the rest of the quarter, extending it to four on a Lacee Savage jumper midway through the first and as many as six on a Nakaylis Washington bucket with 1:40 to go.

A Corpus free throw with 29 ticks remaining ended a small 4-0 NSU run at the end of the opening frame making it 15-10 Lady Demons going to the second.

A jumper from Bonner and another 3-ball from Washington on back-to-back possessions at the mid-point of the second quarter gave the Lady Demons their biggest lead of the game at 20-12. NSU missed its next four shots from the field, allowing Corpus to cut the lead in half with 3:11 to go.

A pair of Savage layups helped preserve the Lady Demons’ first half lead, the third time this season entering the break with the scoring advantage.

The shift by the Islanders to more focused pressure on the paint, especially on the offensive side, showed itself early in the second half. Five of the Islanders six converted field goals in the third came from inside the painted area, leading to the only lead change of the game with 6:13 left in the third.

The Lady Demons kept the game close the rest of the frame with another long ball from Washington making it a 37-34 Corpus lead with 4:10 to go. The deficit grew to six on two different occasions the rest of the quarter, with Bonner and Washington knocking down 3-pointers each time to cut the lead down to three.

A Corpus layup with 32 seconds left gave the visitors a 47-42 lead going to the final 10 minutes.

That would be the closest NSU got in the fourth thanks to a 9-2 Islanders run over the first five minutes that made it a 58-46 affair. Six good free throws in the final minute and a half of the game stretched the lead to 16 and put the game away for the road team.

“Games are always a reflection of how you practice,” Dupuy said. “You’ve got to practice the right way from a communication, effort and physicality standpoint.

“When those are inconsistent it’s going to show up in the game. All the things that we’re talking about seeing during the games must be addressed in practice. When you start being consistent in practice, the game will start to reflect that.”

The Lady Demons return to action Sunday afternoon in the first game of an NSU doubleheader afternoon against Houston Baptist.

Stay connected to NSU women’s basketball by following @NSUDemonsWBB on Twitter, @nsuladydemons on Instagram, or by liking Northwestern State women’s basketball on Facebook.

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