AUSTIN, Texas – Northwestern State’s valiant first half effort was pushed aside on Sunday afternoon with a 91-49 loss to No. 25 Texas putting to an end to non-conference play.
The Lady Demons (3-8) remained within striking distance through the first 20 minutes of play behind a 17-point first half from Kira Bonner. NSU trailed 46-30 at the half, but the offensive execution dipped in the second half. The Longhorns (8-4) pulled away midway through the third quarter for the big win.
“There were some good times where we really executed, mostly in that first half,” fourth-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “Kira played an excellent first half and then kind of tired out in the second and was slow in her defensive rotation, like everyone was there. We were able to get everybody some playing time, but we’ve got to get a lot better if we expect to do some damage in conference.”
A 17-2 start for the No. 25 Horns through the first five plus minutes of action made a tall order even more difficult for the Lady Demons. Bonner sparked NSU with transition 3-pointer with 4:29 left in the opening quarter. Her basket and free throw two minutes later began a 9-4 NSU run to finish the frame, ending with another 3-ball with three ticks left on the clock.
NSU trailed 25-16 heading into the second, but the Texas lead quickly grew to 17 with an 8-0 run that started the frame.
A jumper from Bonner with 5:34 left in the half ended the scoring run and gave the Lady Demons their first points of the quarter. Jocelyn Scott answered a Texas 3-pointer with one of her own three minutes later creating the 16-point deficit NSU saw at the break.
Bonner ended the half like she ended the first with a 3-pointer near the buzzer giving the Lady Demons a boost into the next period. The third began with NSU forcing a pair of aggressive turnovers but were unable to convert them into points.
The Longhorns finished the third quarter on an 11-1 run that put the game squarely in their grasp 69-40 by the end of the frame.
Victoria Miller scored two quick baskets within the first minute of the fourth quarter, half of the field goals for the team in the quarter.
The Lady Demons return to Southland Conference play with three straight home games in league play beginning with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coming to Prather Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s all about toughness, both mentally and physically, and doing the little things,” Dupuy said. “When you get into conference everybody knows everybody and what they’re doing. It becomes the little things that create wins and losses.
“That’s one of the disappointing things about today was that Texas capitalized off or our mistakes. There’s a lot of little things that we’ve got to take care of quickly in order to do what we want to do in conference. That all starts with leadership. There were times where it was good and times where it wasn’t, and when we need it the most is when things aren’t going our way.”
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Photo credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services