- Ronald Oswalt
NATCHITOCHES – Despite a 32-point fourth quarter effort, Northwestern State saw its 24-game winning streak against non-Division I opponents end on Wednesday with a 68-63 loss to LSU-Shreveport.
The Lady Demons (2-4) trailed 41-31 entering the fourth. Five points and three steals within the first minute sparked the home team for a potential comeback, but even with the created momentum LSUS could not be stopped in the quarter.
The Lady Pilots (4-2) went a perfect 8-for-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from distance over the final 10 minutes and did not miss a single shot attempt of any kind in over eight minutes of action. They missed four of their last six free throws, giving the Lady Demons a chance to climb back, but the deficit was too great, and the shots would not fall.
“We can’t wait that long to get going,” head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “Our half court execution in terms of converting shots was once again not where it needed to be. We were out rebounded pretty severely on the glass. We just had a really long team meeting and we’re all going to make changes and see if we can get different results next Wednesday.”
NSU took its only lead early in the first quarter after back-to-back layups from Jocelyn Scott and Kira Bonner, both attempts coming from defensive steals. A turnover on its next possession and an LSUS jumper at the 7:34 mark put the Lady Pilots back on top and began a 16-1 run that made it a 19-5 game.
The Lady Demons ended the quarter with a 7-0 run to cut the lead down to seven at 19-12 on a Julia Sion layup with 12 seconds left in the opening frame.
Six straight points midway through the second brought the Lady Demons back within a single possession when Lacee Savage put in back-to-back shots making it a 24-22 game with just over three minutes left in the half.
NSU had a chance to tie or take the lead on its next possession, but a costly turnover led to a fast break bucket on the other end and an eventual 28-22 LSUS lead at the break. NSU went 0-for-5 from the field to finish the half.
Another mid-quarter rally from the Lady Demons provided some excitement as Nakaylis Washington drilled a jumper with 4:52 on the clock to make it a six-point LSUS lead, capping a 6-2 run. But like the second quarter, NSU went cold from the field the rest of the way, this time going 0-for-6 with three turnovers to end the third.
A 3-point shot from Kira Bonner and a pair of free throws from Savage began the fourth for NSU, but the first two shots of the Lady Pilots’ perfect quarter turned a five-point game into a 10-point game in the blink of an eye.
NSU had one last push before the clock ran out.
Down 62-50 with 3:01 to go, the Lady Demons scored eight points in less than a minute of game time on the shots of Bonner and Jasmyn Johnson, making it a 62-58 game. Five straight from LSUS and three straight misses from beyond the arc by the Lady Demons pushed the lead back to nine with less than a minute remaining.
A late 3-pointer from Savage and a rebound and put back from Victoria Miller in the final seconds made it 67-63 but another missed shot and turnover sealed the LSUS win with a free throw with one tick left on the clock.
Bonner tied a career high with 21 points in the game and Savage had 11 for her second double-digit scoring game of the season, but the spark was too little too late for the Lady Demons.