SAN ANTONIO – The season-long five-game road stretch for Northwestern State comes to an end on Monday afternoon against UIW. It will be the first time NSU has played a game on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day since 2000.
NSU looks to build on two solid quarters in its last outing against Nicholls, where despite another tough loss, showed some of the improvement and growth that first-year head coach Anna Nimz has been looking to see.
Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. from UIW’s McDermott Center. The game can be heard on 92.3 FM in Natchitoches with live streaming audio available on www.nsudemons.com or via the NSU Athletics mobile app, a free download through the Apple or Google stores.
The Lady Demons (0-8, 0-3 SLC) put together two solid quarters in the most recent outing at Nicholls. NSU led after the first quarter for the first time in the season and cut a double-digit third quarter lead down to nine midway through the third.
Although turnovers continue to plague the Lady Demons in those quarters, the execution on both ends of the floor was better during that time. According to Nimz that was all due to one thing – poise.
“We were able to play with poise under pressure in the first quarter,” said Nimz. “When we took a ‘thousand one’ to slow down and think, we had success. That one second of thought allows for a pass fake pass, jump stop, better vision, we are less likely to turn it over and so much more. Playing with poise continues to be an emphasis for our program.”
The success the on both ends in the first and third quarters also came because of consistent defensive work. When the offense suffered, the defense did as well. After leading through the first 10 minutes, a four-point second and six-point fourth gave Nicholls all the room they needed for a comfortable win.
“We need to continue to work to not allow offense to control our work ethic,” Nimz said. “We need to allow the defense to drive our offense.”
Playing just their second game since Dec. 6 and coming off a 91-48 loss in their conference opener on Saturday, UIW (2-4, 0-1 SLC) has had limited opportunity for one of the youngest rosters in the conference to gel.
The Cardinals and Lady Demons have four of the five true freshmen in the league that are averaging more than 22.0 minutes per game. NSU’s Erin Harris leads all true freshmen at 27.5 with UIW’s Jaaucklyn Moore right behind at 26.3, the same amount as fellow Lady Demon freshman Osha Cummings.
While overall a young squad, the Cardinals have experience to draw from with senior Kara Speer, who started every game a year ago, and junior Star Omozee who is second on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding, assists and steals.
“UIW is a good team,” Nimz said. “They play well together and truly have the ability to score it inside and out. Additionally, I think what a factor is that they will be hungry to compete. COVID has taken a lot of their games away so I believe they will be ready to get after it.”