EL RENO — Concluding the first half of play in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference, the No. 10 ranked Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Lady Norse travel to Redlands Community College for a 7:30 p.m. game Monday in the Cougar Field House.
After snapping a 23-game winning streak in the OCAC last Thursday with a 61-59 loss to Murray State College, the Lady Norse own a half-game lead in the conference with a 6-1 record. Northern Oklahoma College-Enid is 5-1 in league play and 13-4 on the season.
Winners of 23 of their last 25 games and 45 of their previous 51, the Lady Norse are 16-2 thus far on the year. Ironically, prior to last Thursday’s loss at Tishomingo, NEO’s previous conference loss was on Nov. 19, 2015 by a 63-57 score at Redlands.
“We’ve got to start playing better,” NEO head coach Jim Rowland said. “We need to understand that every time we step out onto the floor that teams are going to bring their A-game trying to knock us off.
“Redlands will be another difficult game because we turn around for a three and a half hour bus ride before we play,” Rowland said. “They are a very athletic team.”
Fourth-year head coach Jay Niehues has guided the Redlands Lady Cougars to a 4-3 conference mark and a 12-6 season record. The Lady Cougars lost 70-59 last Thursday to Eastern State College in El Reno.
Last season the Lady Cougars finished 23-8 overall and 13-5 in the OCAC. Redlands suffered a 51-50 loss to NOC-Enid in the quarterfinals of the Region II Tournament at Shawnee.
“If Redlands’ has a deficiency it would be with their inside game,” Rowland said. “Hopefully we can pound the ball inside and beat them there.
“But, they also do a lot of dribble-drive on offense to try and spread you out,” Rowland said. “They also shoot a lot of 3’s which makes their perimeter game dangerous.
“Once again, we’ve got to show up and play like we’re a top 10 team,” Rowland said. “Although they’re averaging 69.5 points per game on offense, Redlands is only allowing 51.1 points on the defensive end.”
Freshman point guard Shamika Smith (5-5) leads the Lady Cougars in scoring with a 12.4 scoring mark. She has recorded 48 assists and 21 steals.
Redshirt sophomore shooting guard Amy Tully (5-7) averages 11.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game for Redlands.
Veteran center Lexus Halfred (6-0) leads the Lady Pioneers with a 6.9 rebounding average while scoring 10.5 points per game.