COMMERCE, Texas – Unfortunately, the story remained the same for Northwestern State Thursday night as another lackluster start resulted in a large halftime deficit that it couldn’t recover from in a 67-47 loss at Texas A&M-Commerce.
The Lady Demons (9-13, 5-7) shot 24 percent from the field in the first half and trailed by 15 after the first 20 minutes of play. A 40 percent clip in the second half, behind a career effort Sharna Ayrescompletes the same storyline as the previous two games.
“We need to stop talking about it and be about it,” the head coach said. Anna Nimz he said. “We have to be committed to making corrections and making changes. We are a great basketball team with great players.”
An end-to-end first quarter made for a fast-paced first 10 minutes that featured just three combined foul calls as the Lions (10-13, 8-3) came out to create early open looks in transition.
NSU scored on back-to-back possessions midway through the quarter with Ayres’ second deep kick of the quarter, followed by Jasmine Dixon A layup put the Demons up 10-9 with 3:51 left in the quarter.
Coupled fast-break buckets for the Lions on two of their next three possessions put them ahead for good and started an 11-2 run that ended the opening quarter.
The Demons snapped a two-goal drought that spanned more than three minutes in the second quarter, as an improved defense and Lions transition left them without much offensive support to close the gap.
If not b Alecia Witte On a jumper with 42 seconds left in the half, NSU went scoreless the final four minutes as the Lions extended their lead to 35-20 with seven consecutive late points.
As they have done in the last two games, the Demons came out with renewed urgency in the third quarter and rode the hot hand to take a big lead.
Up by 21 early in the third, the Demons found a hot stretch on Ayres’ left arm. later Candice Parramore He scored on back-to-back possessions and the Lions went cold on offense, with the Aussie southpaw making four 3-pointers on four shot attempts in the final five minutes of the quarter.
Her hot start gave her a new career high with seven 3-pointers in one game, all 21 of her career high points in the game. Ayres finished the night 7-for-9 from the field, all from beyond the arc.
“I’m really excited for Sharna to show up today and do something we’ve been talking about for a while,” Nimz said. “She proves what a great shooter she is day in and day out in practice and in her personal work. I told her again this week to ‘do your job’ and I’m so happy to see her do her job tonight.”
“That’s something she’s capable of almost every night and if she doesn’t shoot 15 shots a night, she’s not doing her job. She came out and did her job tonight and she’s really good.”
Three-pointers in the third and fourth each cut the score down to 12, but each time Commerce answered on the offensive end and started the quarter with the same 15-point edge going into the fourth.
NSU made one more push to cut the lead to single digits early in the fourth when Parramore scored again on two straight possessions, knocking down Ayres’ only unmade 3-pointer of the game and driving for a layup. It’s 56-45 with 6:18 to go.
Commerce found an answer again and following a media timeout a minute later, composure and more Demons thought, scoring points on three straight possessions to push the lead back to 18.
For the fifth straight game, NSU scored Ayres’ first 20-point game. She is the fourth different player in the last five games. Parramore finished in double figures with 12 points and the Demons nearly had a pair of double-digit rebounding performances with Dixon’s 11 and Joel Johnson Pulling to nine.
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