Lincoln 54, NSU 49 (women)
An uncharacteristic 25 turnovers would spell doom for the Northeastern State women’s basketball team as the RiverHawks fell 54-49 to Lincoln University on the MIAA Network Saturday afternoon from Jason Gym.
NSU entered the contest leading the nation in fewest turnovers committed per game at just 12.0, but the final tally was the most since March 11, 2011 — a span of 38 games.
“We just didn’t protect the ball very well,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “They were pressuring us and we didn’t take care of it. Most of their steals were of that type.”
NSU began the game strong, building a 22-10 advantage with 9:22 to play in the first frame. At one point the RiverHawks led 26-15, but that was when the wheels fell off.
“We quit running offense for awhile, and they really pressured us,” Gipson said. “They played harder and we didn’t respond well. Turning the ball over was the biggest thing.”
Lincoln used a 17-0 run that stretched from the 3:21 mark of the first half to 16:37 in the second to take a 32-26 lead and completely flip the momentum.
NSU was able to tie the game again at 35-35, but the damage had been done and the green and white never fully recovered.
The RiverHawks were led in scoring by sophomore guard Fontana Tate, who recorded a career-high 11 points. Senior guard Taylor Lewis added 10.
Arriana Walker led Lincoln with an all-around performance that saw the senior guard drop 14 points, six assists, five rebounds, and five steals. Fellow senior guard Freddie Sims contributed 12 points for the winning side.
NSU won the rebounding battle, 36-24, and shot 42 percent from the field (17-41), but the Blue Tigers recorded 17 steals to just five from the visitors.
“Today was like two games in one,” Gipson said. “We really defended and rebounded the way we wanted to for most of the first half, and then we lost rhythm on offense and everything else was hit and miss. When things don’t go your way, you just have to go back to work.”
NSU returns to action at Arkansas-Fort Smith at 7 p.m. on Friday.