SHAWNEE — Seeking their 12th Women’s Division I Region II Basketball Tournament Championship since 1975, the 10th-ranked Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Lady Norse are the top seed for the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Don Sumner Field House on the campus of St. Gregory’s University.
After posting a 90-67 victory last Thursday to conclude the regular season, the Lady Norse finished 15-1 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference. NEO posted a 25-2 season record.
“I want to make sure that we stay locked in and keep playing hard,” Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland said. “We need to stay focused and not let up like we did against Redlands the other night.
“We ended the regular season on a very positive note and we want to keep that going into the tournament,” Rowland said. “We want them to execute, play hard and go compete.”
With a nine-game winning streak in tact, the Lady Norse must await the 5:30 p.m. Monday play-in game winner between No. 9 seed Western State College and No. 8 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa. The Western Lady Pioneers (8-18 and 1-15) travel to Tonkawa to face the Lady Mavericks (4-12 and 11-17).
The second 5:30 p.m. Monday play-in game pits No. 12 seed Arkansas Baptist College of Little Rock (10-20) against No. 7 seed Eastern State College 7-9 and 13-15) in Wilburton.
When the tournament moves to Shawnee at 1 p.m. Thursday as No. 4 seed Connors State College (8-8 and 19-9) battles No. 5 seed Redlands (8-8 and 16-11).
After the NEO contest at 3 p.m. Thursday, No. 2 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (13-3 and 22-6) squares off at 6 p.m. against the Arkansas Baptist-Eastern winner.
Quarterfinal action concludes at 8 p.m. Thursday as No. 3 seed Seminole State College (9-7 and 14-11) entertains No. 6 seed Murray State (7-9 and 11-15).
Joining the men’s Region II Tournament at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, the women’s semifinal games will be played at night.
The Women’s Division I Region II Championship tips off at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Looking to extend their current post-season regional title to five straight seasons, the Lady Norse defeated NOC-Tonkawa, 86-55, in the first round, Murray State, 92-52 and NOC-Enid, 80-58 for the crown.
“Defensively, just because we have a certain amount of the lead, we’ve got to continue to play hard until the final buzzer,” Rowland said. “If we’re not ready to play now at this next level, then we’ll never be ready.”