By Brad Welborn, Northwestern State Assistant Sports Information Director
NEW ORLEANS – A furious fourth-quarter rally nearly snatched victory from defeat for Northwestern State, but ultimately fell short in a 70-59 loss to New Orleans on Saturday afternoon.
An 11-0 run in the span of a minute and 11 seconds of game time early in the fourth quarter turned a once comfortable Privateer lead into a five-point game at 56-51 with 6:34 remaining. NSU’s full-court pressure defense forced three turnovers during the stretch allowing for easy baskets for Joelle Johnson, Candice Parramore and Alecia Whyte, who accounted for all 11 points of the run.
The Privateers finally broke through the pressure to earn a layup and put an end to the NSU blitz and just as quickly as the Demons made it a two-possession game, UNO stretched the lead back to double figures.
Three straight Privateer possessions ended with free throw attempts that all found their way through the hoop. The six straight freebies accounted for the bulk of the 9-1 UNO answering run that all but secured its win. UNO went 10-for-12 from the stripe in the fourth quarter.
NSU found itself in a hole, needing the comeback in the first half after a hot start from the Privateers who connected on four of their first six attempts from beyon the arc and shot nearly 50 percent from the field through the first two quarters.
The Lady Demons got the first five points of the game, a layup from Jasmin Dixon and 3-ball from Sharna Ayres, before a 14-3 UNO run injected life into the home team.
The teams combined to go 2-for-9 from the field over the final two and a half minutes, both shots falling from beyond the arc, one for each team.
With the deep shots falling for the Privateers, the area around the basket opened up and they were able to take advantage throughout the second quarter to build their lead. UNO scored 14 of their 20 first-half paint points in the second quarter, keeping the Demons more than 10 points away the entire period and taking a 41-21 lead into the half.
Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity of the game for the Demons came in the third quarter.
After another deep shot from UNO gave it the largest lead of the game at 21, the NSU defense held the Privateers without a point for the next six and a half minutes of the period. NSU forced four turnovers during the stretch and played some of its best defense of the game, not allowing the work around the basket that was so effective in the second plague them in the third.
NSU scored four times on their first seven possession of the defensive stretch, but had a three minute stretch without a point that left them still trailing by double figures once the Privateers broke through.
Eight points in the final two minutes and 30 seconds of the quarter were enough to hold off the coming Demon run and keep the Privateers in control.
Parramore led all scorers with 19 points in the game, matching a career high with three 3-pointers in the game. Her final triple of the game, coming with 3:15 remaining in the game pushed her over the 1,000 point mark in her career.
She is the 28th player to join the 1K club while wearing an NSU jersey. She scored 501 points in three seasons at Grambling before transferring to Northwestern State.
Whyte and Johnson eached finished in double figures and Jiselle Woodson tied a career high with eight assists. Whyte fell two rebounds short of her second double-double of the season with a game-leading eight boards.
— Featured photo by Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services