KATY, Texas – The Nicholls State University women’s basketball team struggled in rebounding all season with its smaller lineup and Thursday was no different as McNeese used a significant 61-23 advantage on the glass to hand the Colonels a 79-58 loss in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament at the Leonard E. Merrell Center.
The Colonels end the season with a 10-20 record, while McNeese improved to 14-16 and advances to face Stephen F. Austin on Friday.
Nicholls was held to 29 percent shooting for the game and made just 6-of-29 from behind the arc. One of the 3-pointers came from senior Emani White to start the game, helping Nicholls to an early 7-4 lead, but McNeese answered with a 7-0 run and never trailed the rest of the way.
The size advantage for the Cowgirls paid dividends in the second quarter, which McNeese outscored Nicholls in the period, 16-6. The Cowgirls had a 29-11 advantage on the boards at the half and were plus-14 in points in the paint.
In the second half, McNeese led by as much as 24 as Nicholls dropped to 2-9 all-time in the postseason.
Sophomore Cassidy Barrios led the Colonels with 17 points, with most of her scoring coming from the free throw line. She made just three field goals, but connected on 11-of-14 at the charity stripe. White closed out her career with 13 points, five rebounds and three steals in the loss, while Tia Charles added 10 points.
McNeese shot 45 percent and had four players reach double figures, led by Frederica Haywood with 14 points and 19 rebounds. The Cowgirls had 23 offensive rebounds and turned them into 19 points. Nicholls forced McNeese into 18 miscues, but the Cowgirls held a 13-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Colonels will graduate senior guards White, Hope Pawlowski and Taylor Morrison. Along with All-Southland selection Barrios, Nicholls returns starters Tia Charles and Tykeria Williams, and senior center Marina Lilly returns after sitting out the season with an injury.