By Brad Welborn, Northwestern State Assistant Sports information Director
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Northwestern State was unable to sustain its steady start on Saturday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, as the Islanders controlled the glass and dominated the paint on the way to an 82-54 win.
Corpus (18-10, 13-4) shot 50 percent from the field, behind a 62 percent effort in the middle two quarters, and outrebounded the Lady Demons (11-16, 7-10) 45-27 on the day, including a plus seven mark on the offensive glass that led to 20 second chance points.
“I was really happy with how the girls came out and played in the first quarter,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “They were locked in and executed very well. Lost a little focus in the second but still had great possessions both offensively and defensively.
“Unfortunately, we did not come out of halftime locked in. The game got away from us. Against great teams, or any team really, we can’t take plays off, and we did that today.”
NSU could not have asked for a more efficient offensive start to the game than what it got. The first four made baskets of the game came thanks to four assists.
Jiselle Woodson dropped in a floater to give NSU the first points of the game, on a pass from Jasmin Dixon, and Woodson returned the favor by hitting a trailing Sharna Ayres for a 3-pointer on the next trip down for a quick 5-0 NSU lead.
Ayres made another triple later in the quarter to put the Demons back ahead 12-10 before both teams went ice cold from the field for more than two minutes. The Islanders gathered seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter, the final two of which accounted for four second-chance points to break the scoring drought, put them in the lead and serve as the precursor to the remainder of the game.
NSU continued to share the ball well into the second quarter, getting more assists on a Kayla Hampton 3-pointer and a Joelle Johnson jumper that made it a 22-19 game with 6:53 left in the half.
A more than four-minute scoring drought followed Johnson’s layup with the saving grace that Corpus only managed one field goal during that same period to keep the game within two possessions.
The cold snap did not last long for the Islanders though as they finished the half making their final five field goals of the half to turn a six-point lead into an 11-point lead in the span of three minutes.
That same trend carried over into the second half as NSU missed its first eight field goals and the Islanders scored on its first four possessions of the third to bump the lead up even further less than two minutes into the half.
NSU went nearly the first eight full minutes of the quarter without a field goal, despite getting some quality looks at the basket only to see them trickle off the rim. After not shooting a single free throw in the first half, NSU went 7-for-10 from the stripe in the third to account for more than half their point total in the period.
The Islanders showed no signs of slowing down offensively starting the quarter on a 14-1 run and end it on an 8-2 run to take the commanding 65-37 lead into the final period.
Parramore and Ayres were each able to push their individual point totals to double figures in the fourth quarter. Parramore recorded her 11th straight double-digit scoring effort finishing with a team-best 14 and Ayres added 11 for her 10th double-digit night of the season.
After missing the entire year due to various injures, Jordan Todd played her first minutes of the 2022-23 season. She scored four of her five points in the fourth quarter including grabbing an offensive rebound for a layup late in the period.
NSU remains tied for the sixth seed in the Southland Conference Tournament even after the loss, thanks to a McNeese loss to Southeastern on Thursday as well. Four teams will be in contention for the final three bracket spots on the final day of the regular season next Wednesday.
“Excited to return to Prather and take care of business vs UIW next Wednesday,” Nimz said. “We have to keep chipping away and continue to learn from our losses. As long as we are learning, we aren’t losing.”
— Featured photo courtesy of Texas A&M Corpus Christi Athletics