The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

the nicholls worth

The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

the nicholls worth

The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

the nicholls worth

Colonels look to step up their game in second half of season


THIBODAUX – The Nicholls State University women’s basketball team stands at 8-11 overall and 2-5 in Southland Conference play at the mid-season point of the 2023 women’s college basketball season under first-year Nicholls head coach Justin Payne.

Currently, the Colonels sit in eighth place in the conference, four games back from top-placed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi [7-1]. The Colonels were projected to finish last in the conference during the preseason.

The Colonels started the season by winning their first three games, including a historic upset against Tulane on Nov. 8, 69-66, a win that the Colonels have not previously achieved against the Green Wave since 1991.

In 19 games, Payne has already eclipsed the total of five wins from last season. With two more wins, Payne will eclipse the total of nine wins from the past two seasons.

“We’re really really excited,” Payne said. “We love the growth we’ve seen from the players, both new and returning.”

Freshman guard Britiya “Tabby” Curtis shined bright and early for Nicholls and continues to do so.

So far, Curtis has recorded an average of 10.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game, including a stat line of 18 points, eight rebounds, and three steals against Tulane.

When it comes to learning her fundamentals, Curtis said she thanks her parents.

“That’s a big reason why I’ve been able to create the open space I do create,” Curtis said.

Curtis, a native of Calhoun, Ga., was highly recruited by Payne while he was at Georgia Southwestern. 

When the Nicholls offer arrived, Curtis trusted him and followed him to Nicholls.

“When he first recruited me, just based on his voice, I knew he was an energetic person,” Curtis said. “That made me shift towards him.”

Payne said he brought Curtis to Nicholls with a promise.

“We brought her here and told her that she would have a chance to do something,” Payne said. “She’s proved herself, she’s stepped up to the challenge every time we set something in front of her. I’m so excited for her future here at Nicholls.”

Payne said Curtis is far from her true prime level of play.

“She’s a really really smart player and a high-level shot maker,” Payne said.

Senior guard Kyla Hamilton is a returning player under Payne in her final season of collegiate basketball.

Hamilton has stepped her game up this season, averaging 9.9 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 3.7 assists per game, and stole the ball 97 times in the first half of the season.

“I feel good, but feel like we could be doing better,” Hamilton said. “We just need to put some pieces together and once we do that, I’ll feel even better.”

As a senior, Hamilton feels like she’s in a leadership role within the team.

“Coach likes me to huddle the team up, talk to them, and stay connected,” Hamilton said.

The Colonels have dropped several games late, by either foul trouble or lack of finish.

The five conference games that Nicholls dropped have all finished with a point differential of 10 or less.

“We’re just trying to continue learning, especially how to finish games,” Payne said. “We’re pushing some really really good teams to the brink, and we know we’ll find a way to get to the top.”

Payne said that as a young ball club, growth expands from year to year, and that things will only get better from here.

“We know that’s only going to come with experience,” Payne said. “You can’t skip any steps.”

Nicholls has 11 more games this season before hopefully hitting the road to Lake Charles to play in the 2024 Jersey Mike’s Southland Conference Tournament.

Six of those games will be played at Stopher Gym in front of Nicholls students, making home-court advantage huge down the final stretch.

Nicholls has a back-to-back-to-back home schedule coming up, starting on Thursday, Feb. 1, when the Colonels will face Northwestern State, HCU on Saturday, Feb. 3 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Tip-off for the Thursday games are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the Saturday game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip-off.

All games will be streamed on ESPN+.

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Tory Trahan
Tory Trahan, Staff Writer
Greetings humans! I'm Tory, a freshman pursuing a degree in Journalism. I was born and raised in Lafayette. When I'm not living my dream of pursuing, I'm either playing video games or eating snacks. Alright, gotta get back to writing. See ya!

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