NATCHITOCHES – With just two games remaining before the start of Southland Conference play, Northwestern State and Coach Jordan Dupuy hope a change in the tone of practice generates the right mindset for a win.
The Lady Demons (2-4) host Grambling on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. in what stands as a pivotal game as the team looks to find their way through the early season struggles.
Fans that bring a toy donation for the annual toy drive will receive a free ticket to the game. Live stats and video will also be available through www.nsudemons.com.
Following their loss to LSU-Shreveport a week ago, Dupuy felt like a change needed to be made in practice and preparation. After a short Thanksgiving break, the change was competition. Dupuy hopes increasing the competitive edge in practice translates into games.
“What we’ve tried to do as a coaching staff is create competition in every single thing that we do and every single drill,” Dupuy said. “The idea is to get them competing more and getting more used to everything being a competition. Life is about competition. Basketball is a small microcosm of that and so we’re using the game to teach more than just winning games.
“There was so much that we had to teach early on. So with that, we kind of got away from that competition in practice. I went back through all of our practice plans thus far and looked at what was missing, and it was the competition.”
Dupuy also thinks having a sharper edge, especially earlier in the game, will help the team with the slow starts offensively they’ve seen thus far this year.
A hitch in the offense entering this week is the loss of senior point guard Gabby Bell who went down with an injury in the second half of the LSUS game. The Lady Demons turn to freshman Tristen Washington to take her spot, a place she has already seen once this season.
“Tristen did a great job of stepping in for Gabby when she got hurt before ULM,” Dupuy said. “She’s in great shape and handles the ball well she just needs to be vocal and confident in what she can do. Kalen Green is going to see some time in that position as well, so she’s been working that too. We’ve got confidence in both of them.”
Grambling (1-5) is the second SWAC school the Lady Demons face this season, as they hope to avenge the earlier loss to Jackson State that began the current four game losing skid.
“They’ve been battle tested,” Dupuy said. “They’re very athletic, long and create their own offense. They’ll spread you out and try and create or backdoor cut you if you try and pressure too much.”
Four of the Lady Tigers’ five losses have come against Power 5 schools, including a pair of Top 25 teams in Baylor and most recently Kentucky.
Junior guard Justice Coleman leads Grambling’s scoring effort with a 13.3 point per game average followed by Candice Parramore at 11.8, the only two players in double figures on the season.
“We have to be ready to play,” Dupuy said. “It’s a game that’ll be a dog fight similar to the Jackson State one. We’ve got to come in prepared and the biggest thing for us is getting off to a good start because we haven’t done that in a game so far this year.”
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Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services