EL RENO — With a seven-game winning streak in tow, Northeastern A&M’s Lady Norse make the 220-mile trek to El Reno Monday for a 6 p.m. confrontation with Division II Redlands Community College.
Following a 78-42 victory last Wednesday in Altus over Western State College, coach Jim Rowland’s Lady Norse are second in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 6-2 record. The Lady Norse are 12-6 on the year.
“We took off the day after (Thursday) we made the six-hour trip to Altus,” Rowland said. “We got in at 3:30 a.m., so the girls got some rest while I had to get up and be at work at 7:30 a.m. So while they are refreshed, I’m feeling old.”
“Because of the high school tournament, we had to bring them in at 5 a.m. Friday,” Rowland said. “Despite the time, we had a real crisp workout and they are ready to go.”
Starting the return swing through the OCAC, the Lady Norse entertain Seminole State College on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the NEO Fieldhouse.
Although coach Jay Neihues’ Redlands Lady Cougars are a non-scholarship Division II team, they compete in the OCAC.
The Lady Cougars are 8-9 on the season and 2-6 in the conference. Redlands dropped a 68-57 decision to Carl Albert State College last Thursday in El REno.
“NEO hasn't played Redlands women since the early 1980s,” Rowland said. “So it should be interesting to see what it's like.
“This is another one of those 3 1/2 hour bus rides and it remains to be seen what kind of toll it will take on us,” Rowland said. “But our main focus will be on how well we'll play rather than what kind of team they'll have.”
Even though Redlands features seven sophomores on their roster, three freshmen are the Lady Cougars leaders.
Shooting guard Kyesha Hall (5-6 of Dodson, La.) leads the Lady Cougars with a 12.6 scoring average while recording 41 assists and 48 steals.
Veteran point guard Bertabitha Bailey (5-4 of Tulsa East Central) leads Redlands with 70 assists and 50 steals while averaging 8.1 points per game.
Another freshman guard, Shalay Stancle (5-6 of Tulsa East Central) has a 6.3 scoring mark with 22 assists and 15 steals.
Freshmen Dianna Glass and Karisha Walder start inside for the Lady Cougars.
Glass (5-8 of Verden) averages 12.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Walder (6-5 of Santa Fe, Texas) has a 12.1 scoring mark and a 2.1 rebounding average.
Sophomore Alex Foster (6-1 of Desoto, Texas) leads the :Lady Pioneers with a 9.3 rebounding mark while scoring 7.8 points per game.
“Redlands upset Connors, so that says quite a bit about them,” Rowland said. “This is another one of those games that could jump up and bite you if you're not prepared.
“Even though they have a couple of big kids, we still need to keep pounding the ball inside,” Rowland said. “Jelena (center Jelena Cerina) has had two straight double-doubles with 20 points and 10 rebounds. I really feel our 'bigs' are better.”
Cerina (6-5 of Vrsac, Serbia) leads the Lady Norse with a 9.4 rebounding average and 34 blocked shots while averaging 10.3 points.
“Jelena has been playing really well these last couple of games,” Rowland said. “Even though Eastern had a couple of big girls out, Jelena knocked down some big shots.
“If we get her the ball and let her get established, then we can execute the inside-out game,” Rowland said. “Because they will switch their defense up about every possession, we need to get Jelena going that will open up everything else.”
OCAC women’s standings
Team Conf. Season
W L Pct. W L Pct.
NOC-Enid 8 0 1.000 19 0 1.000
NEO 6 2 .750 12 6 .670
Connors State 5 2 .714 12 5 .710
NOC-Tonkawa 5 2 .714 9 9 .500
Murray State 5 3 .625 12 7 .632
Seminole State 4 4 .500 8 10 .444
Carl Albert 3 5 .375 7 10 .412
Redlands 2 6 .250 8 9 .471
Eastern State 1 7 .125 5 11 .313
Western State 0 8 .000 3 14 .180