After a quick trip out of Southland Conference play, Northwestern State returns to league play with a pivotal three-game home stand to start the New Year.
The Lady Demons (3-8, 0-2) begin the three game stretch on Thursday with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (8-4, 2-0) making the trip to Prather Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. with live coverage available via www.nsudemons.com
NSU showed plenty of bright spots in the two SLC losses prior to the Christmas break. A tie game midway through the fourth quarter against Sam Houston slipped through the fingers, and a three-point loss at Lamar make the Lady Demons 0-2 in conference.
With a trip to Austin and a matchup with a surging, ranked Texas team, the Lady Demons look to build on the progress they showed in those two games before Christmas, and move passed the one immediately following.
“You just have to regroup after a game like that and understand that conference is the most important,” fourth-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “We were right there in those first two conference games.
“If you do the little things there we’re 2-0 instead of 0-2. We’re not far off and we just have to continue to work on executing those little things in order to pull out victories in conference.”
Missed free throws and layups, fouls and turnovers have plagued the Lady Demons all season with one of the top teams in the conference the next challenge to be faced.
The Islanders lost their last outing at Texas A&M on Sunday 85-48, but enjoyed a four game winning streak prior to that, including two conference wins against Nicholls and Central Arkansas.
“They’re always physically tough and defensively oriented and going to do what they need to do to score,” Dupuy said. “It’s going to be a tough, hard-nosed, hard-fought game where possession by possession is going to be critical.”
Corpus averages 63.6 points per game, sixth most in the conference, led by seniors Dalesia Booth and Alexes Bryant who are putting in more than 11.0 points per game each.
Relying on their defense, the Islanders have held their opponents to 60 points or less nine times out of 12 this year, going 8-1 in those games. They have the fifth best scoring defense in the conference at 59.3 points per game.
With the next three games, and four of the next five, played at Prather Coliseum, the Lady Demons have the chance to set themselves up for a good first half of the conference schedule.
“We have to make sure that we take care of home court,” Dupuy said. “Especially with the front end of our schedule being loaded with home games. We have seven of our last nine games on the road this season so we’ve got to make sure we get off to a good start here. It’s absolutely critical that you take care of your home court.”