With 5:13 remaining in the third quarter, Nuggets’ guard Mikayla Bates gave the Nuggets their first lead of the game over the Our Lady of the Lake Generals—61 to 58—with a 3-pointer.
And the Nuggets never looked back.
“We shot 40 percent tonight in the second half,” said head coach Bo Browder. “Anytime we can shoot 40 percent and have our defense stay the same, we have a chance to win a lot of close games.”
The Nuggets and Generals had met four times in the past five years prior to the Dec. 2 game. The previous four match-ups had been in Shreveport, La., on a neutral court. Even so, the Nuggets have won the last two games, most recently a 71-67 win in which Ireyon Keith, a Nuggets guard/forward, scored a career best 17 points.
The Nuggets are no stranger to close games against the Generals. According to Browder, the last four games either went into overtime, or one of the teams won by one or two points. The games are so close because the style of play is so similar, Browder said.
“I think we play the same way,” Browder said. “The players are so similiar. Both coaches coach the same coaching style.”
And when you put two teams that are so similar together, Browder said it’s always going to be a closer game.
Tonight’s 70-65 win over the Generals in the Convocation Center is the fifth consecutive win for the Nuggets and their third win in four days.
“I’m very proud of my team tonight because we had about a 10 to 14 day layoff, and we had to come back and play three games in four days,” Browder said. “Three pretty good teams, and we were able to win going into [academic] finals.”
Nuggets’ guard Essence Wells led all scorers with 18 points. Keith added 12 points for the Nuggets, and Gina Smith added 11. For the Generals, guard Francesca Patrick had 16 points, and forward Destinee King had the game’s only double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Browder said the keys to tonight’s win were “defense, defense, defense, and rebounding.”
The Nuggets have out-rebounded their opponent for the fourth straight game. This time, the Nuggets out-rebounded the Generals 46-32.
The Nuggets’ next game will be away at the University of New Orleans on Dec. 14. The Nugget play an early game 11 a.m.
“It [the game] gives us some time to rest a little bit and get in a little bit better shape and work on some things,” Browder said. “But it will also give them some time to focus on their grades.”