Effort key for Lady Demons at McNeese

LAKE CHARLES – Giving full effort pays off in a multitude of ways. That’s what Northwestern State first-year head coach Anna Nimz wants to see more than anything as her team continues its season-long road trip.

The Lady Demons (0-6, 0-1) hit the road for the third straight time on Saturday to take on one of their oldest rivals McNeese (1-7, 1-0) at 1 p.m. in Burton Coliseum. McNees is playing home games this season in its former arena due to hurricane damage sustained at its on-campus facility the H&HP Complex.

The first game of the second straight Saturday road Demon doubleheader can be heard on 92.3 FM The Fox in Natchitoches. Live streaming audio will be available at www.nsudemons.com

 or via the NSU Athletics mobile app, a free download in either the Apple or Google stores.

There has been a bit of a trend developing for the Lady Demons over the past few games, one that Nimz hopes carries over – high-level basketball in the third quarter.

In three of the last five games NSU has outscored their opponents 67-50 and shot 61 percent (25-for-41) from the field coming out of the half. So far this season they hold a 25-point advantage in the quarter against teams not ranked in the top 10 in the country.

“We had one good quarter against Houston Baptist,” Nimz said. “We’re hoping to take that and turn it into multiple good quarters going forward. It comes down to the fact that HBU played 100 percent harder than we did. They were more physical and did all the little things. 

“We have and are talking a lot about effort. It’s hard to do anything good without full effort. That’s what we’re focused on, and knowing that success is earned, not given.”

With their midweek game at UIW postponed to Jan. 18 due to COVID-19 concerns, the Lady Demons have had a couple of extra days to continue to home in on the process, and the effort, that Nimz and her staff know will produce results. Taking advantage of an opportunity that doesn’t come along often during a season.

“We’re not going to focus on McNeese the entire week,” Nimz said. “We’ll give them the same respect we would anybody with a two-day scout. It is a great advantage to be able to use three days in the middle of the season, albeit a weird season, to focus on us. It’ll be a tough game on Saturday, but we’ll always extend that opportunity to work on us rather than our opponent.”

The Cowgirls snapped a lengthy losing streak in the conference opener a week ago topping Central Arkansas 59-45, benefiting from 32 UCA turnovers and a huge first half shooting performance.

Both sides come in with similar team stats with NSU holding the edge in shooting percentage but McNeese leading the two in rebounds per game. Even beyond the stats the teams match up well player-to-player, creating a scenario where doing the little things, and playing with effort, will win the day. 

“We know that we can compete with anyone if we put forth the effort,” Nimz said. “That’ll still be the big thing – effort, poise, handling runs – but as far as match up goes, we’re excited to be a little more even than we have in the past. Whether you’re even or the bigger team it’s whoever’s playing the hardest.”