By Brad Welborn, Northwestern State Assistant Sports Information Director
HAMMOND – Northwestern State was unable to fully recover from a turnover riddled first half on Thursday, falling to Southeastern 63-48, snapping a three-game Southland Conference winning streak.
The Lady Demons (7-9, 3-3) lost 17 offensive possessions in the first half of Thursday’s game due to turnovers, the most in a half this season. With only four in the entire second half NSU gave itself the best opportunity to win the game, but were kept at arm’s length by the Lion offense.
Neither team came out clicking on the offensive end, taking more than two minutes for either team to see the ball go through the hoop, with a combined six turnovers, five by the Demons, and six missed shots.
Candice Parramore final got the Demons on the board with a 3-pointer, an immediate answer to the Lions opening basket on the previous possession. The Lions returned the favor with an answering 3-ball a minute later to give them a 7-5 lead.
Down by six late in the quarter, Bengisu Alper ripped the net on a 3-pointer from the corner to end a long NSU scoreless stretch. It also started the 6-0 run by the Demons to finish the quarter that ended with Shelby Rayner twisting her way through the defense for a layup with six second left to even the score at 13.
The Lions scored the first six points of the second, on three shots inside the paint, ones that came on dribble-drives and pull up jumpers that the Demons had issue defending consistently throughout the game.
Sharna Ayres cut the lead back down to two on a 3-pointer from the left side with 5:35 to go, but the thing that kept the Lions ahead through the entirety of the second half, started on the ensuing possession.
An immediate answer by the Lions prevented the Demons from closing things further. After an 8-0 SLU run, Alper gave the Demons another much needed 3-pointer, having her shot clock prayer answered as the buzzer sounded late in the half. It was immediately answered with a Lion 3-pointer on the next possession.
The biggest loss for the Demons with the 17 first half turnovers was the loss of offensive opportunities. The tough NSU defense allowed just nine points to the Lions off the bevy of giveaways.
The strong ball security in the second half allowed the Demons to find more offensive flow, but with each bucket the Demons got, the Lions continued to find an answer.
Just four times in the entire second half did the Demons score points without some kind of answer from the Lions. Three of those instances came in the third quarter.
Joelle Johnson and Candice Parramore scored on consecutive possessions midway through the third quarter, sandwiching an offensive foul by the Lions, that cut the lead down to eight. The closest the Demons got in the second half was when Johnson scored four quick points with less than three minutes to go, pulling in a rebound between shots, at 43-37.
The Lions made a jumper to move it back to eight and were able to put it away in the fourth quarter, holding the Demons to a game-low 25 percent shooting effort over the final 10 minutes.
— Featured photo by Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services