A slow offensive start for Northwestern State on Monday night led to a 63-54 defeat at the hands of Pelican State rival UL Monroe, the second straight loss on the season and to the Warhawks.
The Lady Demons (2-2) fell behind by as many as 18 in the first half before a flurry at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third saw NSU make it a 3-point affair. ULM (1-3) held off the NSU surge and pushed the lead back to six by the end of the third and 10 early in the fourth.
“We started with a bunch of empty possessions early,” coach Jordan Dupuy said. “I asked them to get it within 10 at the half to give us a chance to win and they did that.
“We’ve got to get better around the rim. We’re waiting for contact that doesn’t come and we don’t really have a true post presence right now. We’ve got to find a way to score around the rim to open up our outside game.”
Tristen Washington got the Lady Demons on the board at the 6:41 mark of the first quarter, but they were already down 7-0 by that point. Washington’s opening basket was the only field goal for NSU through almost nine minutes of the first quarter leading to an 18-7 ULM lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
The Warhawks continued to build their lead into the second quarter with an 11-4 run to start the frame. The lead was its largest of the night at 18 with 4:43 left in the half. Back-to-back steals and immediate conversions on the other end from Gabby Bell and Lacee Savage gave NSU five quick points and sparked the run that began to erase the deficit.
Kira Bonner drilled a 3-pointer with two second left in the half that secured the momentum for the Lady Demons going into the half, answering the call that Dupuy issued to cut it to 10 by half to give them the chance to win.
Bonner took the initiative coming out of the half, scoring the first nine points of the third quarter for the Lady Demons, cutting the lead down to just one possession for the first time since early in the first.
That was the closest NSU got to taking the lead as ULM kept their scrappy opponents at arm’s length. The hot start offensively went ice cold at that point with the Lady Demons missing their next seven shots from the field allowing ULM to push its lead back to six by the end of the quarter.
The lead was back to double figures early in the fourth with turnovers and more missed chances around the basket preventing another NSU run to close the gap. Washington injected some late life into the game for NSU, drilling a long ball with just over a minute to go to make it a seven-point game.
She made another just moments later that made it a six-point game and gave NSU a chance to make the comeback they were hoping to make.
ULM struggled from the free throw line all night long but over the final minute of the game went a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe, stopping any late game heroics the Lady Demons had in mind.
Bonner reached double figures for the fourth time this season, scoring a game-high 17 including 11 in the third quarter alone. Washington set a new career and season best with 14 points, taking over for an injured Bell for most of the second half.
NSU travels to Texas Tech later this week for a 7 p.m. game against its first Big 12 opponent of the season.
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