Northwestern State started the season with a pair of wins this past week, but in the eyes of fourth-year head coach Jordan Dupuy, they left much to be desired.
“It’s better to teach from wins than losses,” Dupuy said. “People’s attitudes are better but at the same time you’ve got to get your point across that we’re not where we want to be and not doing the things we said we wanted to do consistently.”
Outside of two dominant quarters in the win against LeTourneau, the Lady Demons (2-0) were in a dog fight with their opponents. If not for some late-game heroics from senior Jasmyn Johnson, NSU was in danger of losing its first game to a non-Division I opponent since an 84-80 loss to Loyola (La.) during the 2011-12 season.
Johnson scored in double digits in both wins and set a new career best with eight steals against Central Baptist, not bigger than the two in the final 10 seconds of Friday’s game. Her resiliency and fight are more indicative of what the 2019-20 team want to be and something Dupuy wanted to remind the team of as they enter a new week.
“We had to reiterate what they said they wanted to be as a team,” Dupuy said. “They had to realize the way that they played and practiced doesn’t resemble what they said they wanted to do this year.
“Our practice quote was ‘actions reveal priorities’ and what you do is going to determine what you feel is important. I told them to show me what that quote meant to them and they did that in practice. Sometimes you have to recharge the mind with the body and get refocused again. We did a great job of it on Sunday, but the key is can we come back and put two days together in a row because that’s what we’re going to have to do in order to win on Wednesday.”
The Lady Demons forced 33 turnovers in each of their first two games of the season and scored 65 points off those takeaways. Something that Dupuy was happy to see but something he feels the team will have to continue to improve upon as the season progresses.
“We have to get more consistent capitalizing off of those,” Dupuy said. “Just because we put other teams in a hurry doesn’t mean we have to be in a hurry coming back on the other end. If we have numbers make sure we attack, if not let’s pull it back and run our offense.”
NSU faces a step up in competition this week as Jackson State (0-2) comes to Prather Coliseum for a Wednesday night matchup.
The Tigers make the trip to Natchitoches for the first time since Dupuy’s first season in 2016 as he faces off with a former Southern Miss colleague in head coach Tomekia Reed for the first time.
JSU brings a physical brand of basketball into the game, evidence by their ability to match rebounds with No. 18 ranked Miami (FL) on Sunday. Each team pulled down 44 rebounds in the game with Ameshya Williams recording a double-double adding 14 points to her effort.
“They’re not going to be intimidated coming here to play us,” Dupuy said. “They’re going to play with a lot of intensity and come in here with a chip on their shoulder looking for a win.
“We’re going to see a lot of zone like we saw against Central Baptist and we’ll have to make those adjustments. We’re going to have to hit some shots, keep pressure on the paint and make sure we turn our defense into offense. The toughest team is going to win on Wednesday and we need to make sure that we’re preparing for that.”