GARDEN CITY, Kan. - Overcoming several obstacles, both prior and during the game, the 18th ranked Northeastern A&M Lady Norse defeated the Garden City (Kan.) Community College Broncbusters 70-61 Thursday night in the first round of the Pepsi Classic.

Coach Jim Rowland's Lady Norse continue action today in the three-day classic with a 2 p.m. game against the Sterling College junior varsity. NEO concludes the classic Saturday with a 2 p.m. clash against Howard, Texas.

“This was a tough game for us for several reasons,” Rowland said. “First, we were coming off an emotional win (76-73) over Coffeyville, Kan. on Tuesday. Second, we had a seven-hour bus ride and then had to get on the court and play.”

“But probably most important, we were playing the home team on their court and in front of their fans,” Rowland said. “I'm really proud of the way these girls came out and kept coming after Garden City. They never let up.”

With the victory, the Lady Norse are 2-0 on the young season while the Broncbusters slip to 1-1 on the year.

“We need to get a good night's sleep because we have a quick turnaround with a 2 o'clock game,” Rowland said. “We've got to come out and be prepared and focused. We can't have a let down because we're playing a JV team.”

Fueled by an 11-point performance by Grove freshman shooting guard Kali Bassett, the Lady Norse were able to maintain a 33 to 26 lead at halftime.

Sophomore point guard Misty Haley and freshman forward Nolisha Markham scored nine points each during the first 20 minutes.

“Kali did a great job coming off the bench and providing an offensive spark in the first half,” Rowland said. “She showed a lot of composure and poise in front of a hostile crowd.

“Misty also did a good job running the offense,” Rowland said. “Even though she played very solid, she passed up some opportunities to get to the basket.”

Despite shooting only 39 percent (15 of 38) from the field in the first half, the Lady Norse defense limited Garden City to only 13 of 45 (29 percent) from the field.

Markham and Haley combined for nine points each in the second half as the Lady Norse held the Broncbusters at bay.

Along with the 18 points each by Haley and Markham, NEO received 11 points from Bassett and 6 points each by Skye Rees and Denise Rosario, respectively.

The Lady Norse connected on 28 of 64, including 5 of 11 from the 3-point area, for 44 percent from the field. NEO hit 9 of 13 for 69 percent at the free throw line.

Amelia Jones paced Garden City with 12 points while Katie Novack scored 11 and Amber Brown added 10.

Northeastern A&M 70, Garden City, Kan. 61

Northeastern A&M - Haley 6-16 4-5 18. Markham 9-15 0-0 18, Bassett 4-8 0-0 11, Rosario 3-10 0-0 6, Rees 3-10 0-0 6, Fraley 2-5 1-3 5, Thompson 1-4 2-2 4, Headgecorth 0-3 2-3 2, Sisk 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-64 9-13 70.

Garden City - Jones 5-8 2-2 12, Novack 4-12 2-2 11, A. Brown 4-11 0-0 10, Young 2-11 3-4 9, Schmitt 3-9 0-0 7, L. Brown 2-8 0-0 4, Durler 2-8 0-0 4, Copeland 1-2 0-0 3, Lordholt 0-3 1-2 1, Burnett 0-2 0-0 0, Garlington 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-75 8-12 61.

Halftime - NEO 33, GCCC 26. 3-point goals - NEO 5-11 (Bassett 3-4, Haley 2-5, Hedgecorth 0-1, Sisk 0-1), GCCC 7-22 (Young 2-6, A. Brown 2-5, Novack 1-4, Schmitt 1-2, Copeland 1-2, Burnett 0-2, Garlington 0-1). Rebounds - NEO 44 (Fraley 9), GCCC 42 (L. Brown 7, Young 7). Assists - NEO 7 (Thompson 2, Fraley 2), GCCC 9 (Schmitt 4). Steals - NEO 4 (Fraley 2), GCCC 8 (L. Brown 3, Schmitt 3). Blocked shots - none. Turnovers - NEO 18, GCCC 16. Total fouls - NEO 7, GCCC 17. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none.