LAKE CHARLES – Another turnover-filled first half for Northwestern State created a deficit too great to overcome Saturday afternoon as McNeese pulled away for a 67-47 win.
The Lady Demons (0-7, 0-2) turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter and 13 in the half allowing McNeese (2-7, 2-0) to build a 20-point halftime lead. NSU cut the turnovers in half in the third and fourth quarters with spurts of solid play, but the effort was not enough.
“We did see some positives in the second half,” first-year head coach Anna Nimz said. “Until we show up in the first half it’s going to be problematic for us the rest of the season.
“I am proud of those spurts of effort but at this point in our season they shouldn’t be just spurts. It starts at the top and we’re just going to keep trying to figure out what makes them work and what makes them show up and give that effort.”
After falling behind on the first two possessions of the game, NSU answered with consecutive buckets from Osha Cummings and Andreea Cojocariu knotting the game at four. Fouls, turnovers and missed shots over the next four minutes gave McNeese the opportunity to build a double-digit lead with an 11-1 run.
The Lady Demons went 1-for-4 from the field in the final seven minutes of the first quarter with seven turnovers.
McNeese stretched the lead to 15 on the third layup of the quarter from post-presence Divine Tanks at the 4:14 mark of the quarter. A layup and free throw from Julia Sion were the only points the Lady Demons could produce the rest of the way and the Cowgirls took a 38-18 lead into the half.
Sion answered the opening McNeese layup to start the third with one of her own, but a 9-2 McNeese run pushed the lead to its largest point of 27 with just under seven minutes left.
Another bucket from Sion and a driving layup from Erin Harris on the next two trips down the floor gave the Lady Demons a quick burst of scoring. NSU’s 8-2 run that followed, their best of the game, made it 51-30 Cowgirls.
Harris dropped in a jumper to start the fourth quarter to bring the lead into the teens but Tanks answered after another NSU turnover a minute later pushing the lead back to 21. The Lady Demons made 3-of-4 from the line in the final second after a loose ball and technical foul on McNeese sent them to the line for the final margin.
McNeese scored 29 points off 21 NSU turnovers in the game with Tanks having a career day with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lady Demons travel to Nicholls next Wednesday to continue conference play.