Late leads slips away from Lady Demons

NATCHITOCHES – The win was so close that Northwestern State could taste it Monday night. But seven turnovers in the final five minutes of the game saw a nine-point NSU lead slip away to a 72-65 loss to Nicholls.

“When the game continued to stay close, I feel like our team played not to lose instead of playing to win,” first-year head coach Anna Nimz said. “We became more reserved and started throwing the ball away. We weren’t being tight at all like we were in the first half. All the work we put in for three quarters all of the sudden went out the window when it was on the line.”

The Lady Demons (0-16, 0-11) caught fire after the first media timeout of the game. A 10-4 Nicholls lead was erased within seconds thanks to five quick points from JaMiya Braxton, who finished with a team-high 16 points. 

“JaMiya really kind of settled into things tonight,” Nimz said. “The girls were playing well in transition and through each other better and got a few more ball reversals to get some open shots and that helped her confidence a lot.”

The ensuing 20-4 run by the Lady Demons gave them the first-quarter lead and the first double-digit lead of the season at 24-14 early in the second. Nicholls cut the lead down to just two with an 8-0 run but the Lady Demons responded with a strong finish to the quarter to take the 35-26 lead into the half.

A lackluster start to the second half allowed the Colonels to claw back into the lead on a 3-pointer from Adrian Mann midway through the third. 

The Lady Demons took the lead back after a handful of changes on an Anessa Dussette free throw with 4:33 left. Back-to-back 3’s from Braxton and Erin Harris helped pushed the NSU lead back to seven by the end of the quarter at 52-45.

NSU continued to battle through the final 10 minutes of the game, holding a nine-point edge on a jumper from Harris, who had a career-best 14 in the game, with 4:45 to go. Turnovers began to mount for the Lady Demons in the final four minutes and Nicholls, who struggled from the free throw line all day, found its stroke making 10 shots down the stretch to secure the comeback win.

“I am frustrated because we gave the game away,” Nimz said. “We don’t have anyone that really commands and demands the ball when the game’s on the line. But for a team that is 0-16 I thought they fought incredibly hard and I don’t know that any other coach could say that about their team with that same record.”