Women’s Basketball — Lady Demons drop conference opener at HBU

NSU_3_Kalen_Green_ULM_25_Kierra_Brimzy Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

A slew of first half turnovers and offensive inconsistencies for Northwestern State created too large a deficit to overcome on Saturday afternoon at Houston Baptist.

The Lady Demons (0-6, 0-1) committed 16 costly first-half turnovers leading to a 23-point HBU lead at halftime. The Huskies (5-3, 1-0) held off a strong push by NSU in the third but the deficit was too great and HBU pulled away in the fourth for the 82-56 win.

“We’ve talked a lot about our defense the past couple of days and how it needs to help create our energy,” first-year head coach Anna Nimz said. “Not relying on the offense or the 3-point line to spur anything for us. We just gave up a lot of possessions and didn’t execute those nonnegotiables that we’ve focused on lately.”

HBU sprinted out the gate taking advantage of NSU misses, turnovers and fouls to build a commanding 17-1 lead by the midway point of the first quarter. Makayla VanNett drilled the first of her two 3-pointers of the quarter with 4:23 remaining to give NSU its first field goal of the game.

The lead was still at 16 by the end of the quarter as HBU converted on all 10 of their free throw chances in the first quarter and scored 15 points off NSU turnovers.

An 11-3 run to start the second quarter helped HBU extend the lead to its near largest point at 44-17 on a Kennedy Wilson layup with 2:02 remaining in the half. Kalen Green dropped in a 3-pointer after Wilson’s layup and Claudia Vidal made another as time expired in the half to make it a 46-23 game at the break.

Vidal’s trey provided a boost for the Lady Demons going into the third sparking a 24-point burst of offense to begin the second half.

Julia Sion scored on three straight trips down the floor on nearly the exact same play. Cutting to the basket she gathered passes from three different teammates to finish at the rim, drawing fouls on two attempts to get to the free throw line.

Sion’s scoring burst and a 3-pointer from Tristen Washington on the next trip pulled the Lady Demons within 18 at the midway point. The lead was down to 12 minutes later thanks to back-to-back 3’s from Kalen Green and Anessa Dusstte. HBU ended the quarter with a layup making it a 61-47 game going into the fourth.

NSU shot 60 percent from the field in the third and went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. The offensive inconsistencies and turnovers that haunted the Lady Demons in the first half showed itself again in the final 10 minutes.

A 12-0 HBU run to start the fourth, aided by six NSU turnovers, turned the manageable third-quarter deficit into a 73-47 game by the midway point of the quarter. The Lady Demons shot 20 percent in the fourth and committed eight turnovers allowing the Huskies to pull away.

“It’s about a process,” Nimz said. “By no means is this what we want and the young ladies are much better but at the end of the day it comes down to effort.

“We had spurts of really good effort especially in the third quarter. We have the ability to be pretty good, but our inconsistencies will always haunt us. As a coaching staff that’s got to be something that we find a way to get our girls to have more success and be more consistent.”