Alexis Nezianya and Whitney Apari each registered double-doubles for Texas Woman's University, but the Pioneers lost 66-58 to Northeastern State on Tuesday night in Kitty Magee Arena.
Nezianya recorded her fifth double-double of the season with game-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Apari notched her first with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The 20 points TWU scored in the first half were its lowest this season, but it nearly doubled its output with 38 points in the second half, boosted by 15 from Nezianya and nine by Apari.
In the fourth quarter, a 3-pointer by Apari at the top of the key gave TWU (5-5, 2-2 Lone Star Conference) a 49-47 lead before an NSU (6-4, 2-2 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) layup tied the score with six minutes remaining. A layup by Nezianya kept the Pioneers up 54-52 midway through the period, but a RiverHawk three handed the lead over on the next possession. TWU was unable to convert again from the field and was forced to foul, eventually leading to the 66-58 final.
The TWU offense took a bit to get started as Whitney Apari scored the first Pioneer points of the evening at the free throw line nearly four minutes into the game with the RiverHawks leading 5-2.
The Pioneers took their first lead of the night at 11-9 on a layup by Bri'anna Gray a minute into the second quarter, and a baseline drive by Gray then increased the margin to 17-14. NSU pulled ahead 18-17 at the three-minute mark, but Desiree Phipps drilled a three from the left wing for a 20-18 TWU advantage with a 90 seconds until halftime.
A pair of three-point plays underneath from Nezianya helped erase a five-point deficit in the third quarter to make the game 36-36 with three minutes left. Nezianya scored again in the paint, but two buckets by NSU completed the quarter for a four-point RiverHawk edge.
The Pioneers return from the holiday break by traveling to Eastern New Mexico for a 7 p.m. contest on Jan. 4.