Pennywell guides Lady Demons to Southland road win - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Pennywell guides Lady Demons to Southland road win

A late steal by Kourtney Pennywell helped the Northwestern State women's basketball team survive a late run by Texas A&M- Corpus Christi on its way to 65-59 win over the Islanders Thursday night in Southland Conference action.


The Islanders (8-6, 1-2 SLC) stormed back from a 17-point deficit with 7:03 to play in a game that Northwestern State's (9-6, 2-1 SLC) defense dominated.


"Basketball is a game of runs, and we knew they'd comeback and make a run when we got up," said second season co-head coach Brooke Stoehr. "The story to their run was the offensive rebounds.  We just did a poor job blocking out in the zone.


"Proud of my team for responding to adversity on the road," she said.  "We shot ourselves in the foot and came back.  We showed guts today."


Jasmine Shaw and Brittany Mbamalu sparked the 21-9 Islander run that lasted until Pennywell's steal with six seconds left.  Shaw had 12 and Mbamalu had nine points during the run.


The Lady Demon defense allowed Corpus Christi to jump out to a 20-9 lead with 13:59 remaining in the first half, and then held the Islanders at 20 for the next 11-plus minutes.  NSU went on a 17-0 run during the Corpus Christi drought.


NSU went into halftime with a 33-27 lead.


"We held them scoreless for over 11 minutes in the first half. Our zone was very effective," said Stoehr.


The NSU defense continued to stymie the Islander offense holding them to 11 points to open the second half until the 7:03 mark that was the open of the late run.


Northwestern State shot 55.8 percent (24-43) as team from the field.  So far, NSU has eclipsed the 50 percent field goal mark in every conference game played this year.


It was 54.5 percent from the field in from behind the arc.


"We scored the basketball pretty well tonight.  We continue to score, and we just have to continue to get better and rebound the basketball."


Both Janelle Perez and Pennywell led NSU in scoring with 14 points; Keisha Lee followed with 11 points. 


It was a career high from Pennywell. She also had six rebounds, tied for the team lead with Chelsea Rogers.


"I'm walking away after the game thinking that three freshmen came in and played very big minutes for us," said Stoehr. "That was Beatrice Attura, Kourtney Pennywell, and Emily Spector. It was a  road experience in an environment that you faced adversity, and I thought they responded very, very well."


Attura had eight points in 15 minutes for NSU and Spector came up with four key rebounds and four points in 20 minutes played.


Trudy Armstead had eight points, Rogers had three, Presley Owens had two, and Meredith Graf had one.


Texas A&M-Corpus Christi hit 35 percent (20-57) from the field and 41 percent (11-34) from behind the arc. 


"The bottom line is that they hit 3-pointers," said Stoehr.  "They got several of threes in the second half off of offensive rebounds. We have to be a better rebounding team in the zone."


The game-high scorer was Shaw, who had 29 point, followed by Mbamalu who had 12.   Shaw was 10-of-19 from the field and 7-for-12 in 3-pointers.


Neither team did well from the free throw line:  NSU was 11-of-21 (52 percent) and TAMUCC was 7-of-14.


The Islanders outrebounded the Lady Demons 36-31 and had 16 offensive rebounds against NSU's 25 defensive boards.   Offensive rebounds helped spur the 21-9 run in the closing minutes.


"They only had three offensive rebounds at the half, but I know that he (Corpus head coach Royce Chadwick) went in and challenged them," said Stoehr.  "They came out with energy."


The Lady Demons will continue the two-game road stint with Houston Baptist on Saturday at 3 o'clock.


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