NSU women 57, Missouri Western State 42
The NSU women used a strong defensive effort and had two freshmen step up in a 57-42 victory over Missouri Western State Thursday night inside the NSU Event Center.
Courtney Cowan, a redshirt freshman guard, entered the game with a career-high seven points and Mya Walker, a true freshman forward, had yet to post more than six points in a single contest.
The tandem combined for 26 points and were the only two RiverHawks in double figures, with Cowan finishing at 14 points and Walker adding 12.
“I’ve had trouble all season getting my rhythm back, but these last few practices have been really good,” said Cowan, who was forced to miss the 2012-13 campaign due to injury. “Tonight everything just worked for me. They were guarding Fontana (Tate) so much because she is our leading scorer, and I was able to make a couple shots and hit my free throws.”
NSU coach Randy Gipson said he is excited about the progression of his younger players.
“It’s good to see. (Courtney and Mya) were players that we recruited because we thought they could give us scoring,” he said. “They’re starting to understand the game and the intensity that’s required to play at this level. We’ve seen some progress being made from Courtney over the last week and a half in practice, and (Thursday) was clearly Mya’s best college game.”
NSU’s defense was also stellar, as the RiverHawks held the Griffons to their lowest point total since Fort Hays State also held them to 42 on Dec. 8, 2012.
“Missouri Western plays really hard and they’re a good defensive team,” Gipson said. “We had difficulty sustaining offense, but our kids really gave a good effort defensively throughout the game. That ultimately carried us to the win tonight.”
Both teams shot poorly, with the Griffons posting a 31-percent clip (16-for-52) and NSU reaching 29 percent (15-for-52). The two squads only made three three-point baskets, but the RiverHawks outscored MWSU 24-7 on the free-throw line. NSU also outrebounded the visitors 47-38.
The lone threat for Missouri Western came in the post in the form of forward Quenisha Lockett. She finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, but no other member of the team had more than six points.
The NSU basketball programs will entertain Central Missouri beginning at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 21. The Jennies are currently ranked No. 8 in the nation, while the Mules are receiving votes in the national polls.