Long road stretch begins for Lady Demons

Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

The comforts of home are in the rearview mirror for Northwestern State as it embarks on the first of a pair of three-game road trips to finish the regular season.

The Lady Demons (5-15, 2-9 SLC) begin a grueling stretch that takes them to Abilene, Houston and San Antonio within a week on Wednesday night against one of the best teams in the Southland Conference in Abilene Christian (15-4, 7-3 SLC).

Fans can hear the action live beginning at 5:30 p.m. with Tony Taglavore on 92.3 FM The Fox or with live streaming audio onwww.nsudemons.com or via the NSU Athletics mobile app, which is available for download via the Apple Store or Google Play.

“We’ve got to take one game at a time, one day at a time and go from there,” interim head coach Aaron Swinson said. “It’s going to be a long stretch, we know that, we’ve just got to be prepared for it and approach it the same way we would at home. Now we’ll be on someone else’s home court and just be poised and work hard.”

The road has not been kind to the Lady Demons thus far this season. NSU is one of two teams in the SLC that are winless away from their home floor, going 0-7 outside of Prather Coliseum.

Getting offensive production from players not named Kira Bonner has been a focus all season, with the Lady Demons seeing glimpses of it from multiple players during the past two games.

Jasmyn Johnson and Tristen Washington each went for 14 in the game against New Orleans and Victoria Miller turned in her second career double-double against Central Arkansas. Finding the consistency Swinson said must be the primary goal now.

“We’ve got to have more than one person have a good game,” Swinson said. “One isn’t going to help us a lot but if we have a balance through the roster that can do something to contribute it helps us much more. We can’t have zeros across the board from people that are playing significant minutes.”

The Lady Demons hope they see some of that consistency starting with an ACU team that, despite dropping their past two games, have the best offense in the Southland.

The Wildcats average 80.4 points per game, the best in the conference and 11th in the NCAA. They also lead the league in shooting from every position – field goals, beyond the arc and from the line. The varied and dynamic attack presents a challenge for the current strength of the NSU team.

“Our defense has been our strength in some parts of the game,” Swinson said. “We can’t have times where get stops, go down and don’t score. We have to figure out a balance where we get those stops and score some way somehow.”

With two players in the top three in the conference in scoring, and a post presence that puts in nearly 10 points a game, the Wildcats can attack from many different places on the floor.

“They spread you out,” Swinson said. “The most important thing for us is being able to defend one-on-one. We can go to a zone, but they shoot the ball really well from that perspective. We’ve got to do our best to contain them, contest them, box them out and run our stuff.”