NATCHITOCHES - Trudy Armstead scored a game-high 18 points with 10 rebounds to lead Northwestern State to a 61-57 Southland Conference women's basketball win over Texas-San Antonio Wednesday night in Prather Coliseum.
The win snapped a three-game skid for the Lady Demons (5-12, 1-3) while also putting a halt to a nine-game losing streak to the Roadrunners - the longest current losing streak to a Southland team. UTSA fell to 6-11 overall and 2-2 in conference play as it dropped its first game in Prather Coliseum since a 51-48 loss in the first round of the 2005 SLC tournament.
Things didn't appear to be heading in the Lady Demons' direction at the start of the game as UTSA came out on fire and led 10-2 just three minutes into the contest after it knocked down four of its first six shots.
But the Lady Demons scrapped their way back and after falling behind 25-14 with 5:45 to play in the half, outscored the Roadrunners 10-2 the rest of the way to go into the break down just 27-24.
"The girls were so excited after this win," said head coach Jennifer Graf. "After Saturday's tough loss, the girls came back in on Monday and Tuesday and probably had our best practices of the season. They get so much credit for turning their focus to this game after that one and that's something we preach all the time.
"The girls came in with the right mindset and wanted to pick up this win. We're tired of losing and tired of getting beat down. They came in here with the right mindset and it started on Monday afternoon in practice."
NSU reversed the role in the second half and outscored UTSA 9-2 to start things off. The Lady Demons took the lead off an Armstead layup to make it 30-29 with 17:45 to play - a lead they would not relinquish.
Meredith Graf knocked down her only trey of the contest to make it a four-point game and after UTSA's Jalisa Montgomery cut the deficit back to two points, the Lady Demons got a trey from Tiandra Williams, just the second one of her career, and another basket by Armstead to open up a seven-point, 38-31 lead with 14:46 to play.
NSU took its largest lead of the game at the 9:07 mark after Williams hit a jumper to make it 46-37, but after another nine-point margin was squeezed to six and then back up to eight with 3:43 to play, UTSA got a free throw and back-to-back 3-pointers by Ashley Spaletta to cut the gap to 56-55 with 1:29 to play.
Jordi James, who finished with 15 points, knocked down two free throws with 1:05 to go but then Montgomery closed the gap back to one point with 49 seconds left after a good layup.
Perhaps the biggest shot of the game came from Armstead who knocked down a 10-foot jumper with the shot clock running out to give NSU a 60-57 lead with 29 seconds left. And after a missed layup by Simone Young was rebounded by Graf and was fouled, Graf sealed the game on a made free throw with seven seconds remaining.
UTSA had three players score in double-figures with Ashley Gardner leading the way with 13 points followed by 11 from Whitney Wright and Spaletta.
The Roadrunners hit just 35 percent of their shots from the floor, including 23 percent from 3-point range. Meanwhile, NSU drained 40 percent for the game and was 4 of 10 from long range. But the area NSU has struggled lately was a breath of fresh air as NSU hit 15 of 21 from the free throw line, including 9 of 11 in the second half.
The Lady Demons will be back in action on Saturday when they visit first place McNeese State in the first game of a doubleheader.