With five players scoring in double figures Thursday night, the 23rd ranked Northeastern A&M Lady Norse celebrated ‘sophomore night’ with an 80-58 rout over Eastern State College in the NEO Fieldhouse.
Coach Jim Rowland’s Lady Norse carry a 5-2 record in the Bi-State Eastern Division and a 21-6 overall mark to Warner Monday for a 6 p.m. rematch with seventh ranked Connors State College.
“We kind of got caught up in the moment of sophomore night,” Rowland said. “It took us a little while to get settled in.
“With the score 24-15 at the 12:41 mark of the first half, we went into an offensive lull and didn’t score for six minutes,” Rowland said. “We told our post before the game that they should dominate and they didn’t get untracked until the second half.”
The Lady Mountaineers received 15 points from guard Shantoya Fisher and seven points from Courtney Clayborn, along with six points each by Tarra Kania and Kelli Adams, to construct a 34-31 lead with 3:04 until halftime.
Sophomore guard Kali Bassett canned a 3-point field goal at the buzzer to rally the Lady Norse to a 39-38 halftime lead.
“Kali’s shot was a rallying point for us,” Rowland said. “Then I went in at halftime and pointed out to them that they weren’t playing like we’re capable of.”
Outscoring Eastern by an 18-5 margin in the first 11 minutes of the second half, the Lady Norse pulled away to a 57-43 advantage. Seven points by freshman center Jelina Cerina, along with six straight by Nolisha Markham, fueled the NEO outburst.
A 3-pointer by Bassett, along with two free throws each by Skye Rees and Megan Fraley and a solo free throw by Cerina, created a 67-49 NEO cushion with 4:05 left in the game.
Over the final four minutes Cerina scored seven points to lead NEO.
Fraley, recipient of the Dixie Woodall Inspiration Scholarship, led the Lady Norse with 16 points while Cerina added 15, Markham 13, Bassett 12 and Rees 12.
Fisher tallied 19 points to lead the Lady Mountaineers while Adams contributed 12 points.
Rees grabbed 10 rebounds to give the Lady Norse a 52-43 advantage on the boards. Fisher collected 12 rebounds to lead the Lady Mountaineers.