ALTUS — Making the 354-mile trek to Western State College, the Northeastern A&M Lady Norse face the Western State Lady Pioneers Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
Coach Jim Rowland's Lady Norse (11-6) have a six-game winning streak in place.
After defeating Eastern State College 85-73 Monday night in the NEO Fieldhouse, the Lady Norse are 5-2 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The Lady Norse conclude a brief two-game road trip Monday by traveling to El Reno for a 6 p.m. conference game with Redlands Community College.
"Since they are on the other side of the state, we don't know a whole lot about Western," Rowland said. "We know little bits and pieces, but we're more concerned about how we play than what kind of team they have."
Western (4-13 overall and 0-8 in the OCAC) dropped a 77-52 conference decision to Carl Albert State College last Saturday in Poteau.
Last season the Lady Pioneers finished 0-8 in the Western Division of the Bi-State Athletic Conference and 4-25 overall.
The Lady Norse swept the two-game series with a 77-71 win in Miami and an 81-46 drubbing in Altus to end the regular season last year.
Head coach Rolando De La Barrera’s 11-player Lady Pioneers roster has been decimated by injuries and will have only seven players available for the game.
"About the only things we know for sure is that we face a six-hour bus ride, getting to play in a poorly-lighted gym against a team that has been bothered by injuries," Rowland said. "We've got to get our freshmen to understand that they have to be mentally ready to go in these conditions."
Freshman point guard Jessica Baez (5-9 of Puerto Rico) is averaging 10.5 points for the Lady Pioneers with 52 assists and 36 steals.
Another freshman, Taren Ray (6-0 of Altus) leads Western with a 12.1 scoring mark and a 9.3 rebounding average in the post.
"This is a game we should probably win, but as a coach you're always concerned how a long bus ride could affect your physical performance," Rowland said. "Our defense has been sporadic these last few games and if we play like that on the road, a team like Western can jump up and get you.
"We can't let them hang around," Rowland said. "We've got to nail the coffin shut."