It took New Orleans just over three minutes to build an 11-0 lead on Northwestern State on Wednesday night. Those 11 points changed the complexion of an otherwise tightly contested game that ended in a 65-48 NSU loss.
The game-defining 11-0 run that started the game was helped by three NSU shooting fouls that sent UNO to the free throw line. The Privateers went 6-for-6 from the line during the opening stretch, 8-for-8 in the first quarter and 10-for-11 in the game.
Osha Cummings finally got the Lady Demons on the board with a layup at the 5:56 mark of the first quarter, which was immediately answered with a 3 from Mia Deck, pushing the lead right back to double figures.
Along with the early fouls, NSU turned the ball over a game-high eight times in the opening period, the saving grace coming in the form of seven UNO turnovers in the first as well. The Lady Demons ended the game with 27 turnovers, the fourth most in a game this season.
“We’d done a little bit better in the turnover category the past couple of games but had 27 tonight,” first-year head coach Anna Nimz said. “We gave up 11 points in the first half off that and I just don’t know that we showed up ready to go tonight.”
Outside of the first three and a half minutes of the game, the Lady Demons were locked in a battle. Aleixa Marsh provided a shot in the arm off the bench scoring back-to-back buckets in the first thanks to a pickpocket steal near midcourt.
NSU had a pair of chances early in the second to bring the deficit to within single digits, but three missed shots didn’t fall, and UNO stretched the lead back to 16 by the media timeout.
“I thought Alexia did a great job for us and did some really nice things and gave us some spurts of energy,” Nimz said of the junior transfer who finished with seven points, matched a career high with five rebounds and set a career high with three steals in the game.
On three different occasions early in the third, NSU had chances to once again make it a single-digit game after two layups from Julia Sion and a jumper from Tristen Washington. Each time UNO either answered with a shot of their own or forced a turnover to keep the margin in double digits.
“The kids we really rely on had quite a few turnovers,” Nimz said. “I do think Tristen did a nice job tonight, going 50 percent from the field and 2-for-4 from the 3-point line so that’s always good to see. Julia was able to get 10 rebounds, but I thought we had a lot of missed opportunities right by the goal.
“We live to see another day, we have practice tomorrow and we’re going to try to do our very best on Saturday.”
The Lady Demons close the 2020-21 season with an 11 a.m. tipoff against Central Arkansas.