MIAMI — Returning to the hardwoods after a two-week break over the holidays, No. 12 ranked Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College resumes play at 5 p.m. Thursday with a rematch in Parsons, Kansas, against Labette Community College.
Two long winning streaks are on the line when the teams representing both the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference and the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
NEO sits atop the OCAC and is 11-1 overall at the Division 1 level. The Lady Norse extended their current winning streak to nine games on Dec. 10 with a 92-58 victory over Mineral Area Community College in the final round of the Crowder College Roughrider Tournament in Neosho, Missouri.
“After everybody returned to campus, we actually had our first practice on New Years Eve night,” Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland said. “Everything went very well and we’re currently working ourselves into physical shape.
“We told them before the break that we really didn’t want them scrimmaging with their high school teams,” Rowland said. “We wanted them to work out on their own and for the most part, they came back in good shape.”
Rebounding from a 2-27 record in coach Mitch Rolls’ first season, the Division II Lady Cardinals are 13-2 on the regular season. The Lady Cardinals closed out the first portion of the schedule on Dec. 10 with an 81-65 victory over Cottey College of Nevada, Missouri.
While winning 11 games in a row, the Lady Cardinals are a perfect 6-0 on their home court.
“We’ve really been working hard to get our timing back and getting rid of the cobwebs,” Rowland said. “We were really playing good before the break and we don’t expect to go out there and pick up where we left off.
“The thing about Labette is that they play so fast,” Rowland said. “We prefer to play fast, but we want to make sure we’re under control.
“Although Labette tends to play out of control sometimes, they are really, really fast and athletic,” Rowland said. “I just hope that our timing comes back and we’re able to cut down on mistakes.”
Averaging 81.3 points on offense, Labette is led by freshman point guard Victoria Lovejoy (5-6) with a 19.6 average.
Sophomore shooting guard Tyra Jones (6-1) averages 16.9 and 5-1 rebounds per game for the Cards.
Freshman guard DeAshia Young (5-6) is scoring 12.6 points per game with 34 assists and 23 steals.
While the Lady Norse have four players averaging in double figures, NEO is scoring an average of 81.6 points per game.
Veteran guard Maria Delgado averages 15.7 points while both sophomore guards Kamry Orr and Mariah Green are scoring 11.1 points per game and veteran forward Hatty Nawezhi has a 10.5 scoring mark.