SHAWNEE ó Faced with the prospect of having to defeat a team three times in one season, No. 2 seed Northeastern A&M Lady Norse battle No. 8 seed Eastern State College at 3 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Womenís Division I Region II Tournament.
First year head coach Amber Taylor guided the Lady Mountaineers to a 67-56 upset Monday night over No. 7 seed Redlands College in El Reno.
With the victory the Lady Mountaineers are 10-20 on the season while the Redlands Lady Cougars finish 13-17 overall.
Other first round games on Monday found No. 6 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa (16-15) defeating No. 11 seed Arkansas Baptist College (21-9) by a 74-67 score in Tonkawa while No. 8 seed Western State College (9-17) beat No. 9 seed Carl Albert State College (11-18) 75-71 in Altus.
Quarterfinal games on Thursday at the Noble Complex at Oklahoma Baptist University start at 1 p.m. with No. 4 seed Murray State College (17-10) battling No. 5 seed Connors State College (17-12).
Following the NEO-Eastern game, No. 3 seed Seminole State College (18-8) plays NOC-Tonkawa at 6 p.m.
Three-time defending champion and ninth ranked Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (27-3) concludes the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. against the Western State Pioneers.
Scores from the menís Region II first round games on Monday saw No. 10 seed Carl Albert (6-23) defeated the No. 7 seed NEO Golden Norsemen 73-70 in overtime; 11th seed Arkansas Baptist (19-12) eliminated No. 6 seed and defending region champion Redlands College (14-15) 95-92 in El Reno and No. 9 seed Western State College (14-16)defeated No. 8 seed Seminole (9-20) by a 78-73 score in Seminole.
Carl Albert faces No. 2 seed Connors State (12-6, 22-7) at 1 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals at OBU. Arkansas Baptist plays No. 3 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (20-9) at 3 p.m. Friday followed by No. 4 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa (17-13) facing No. 5 seed Murray State College (13-14) at 6 p.m. and No. 1 seed Eastern State College (27-3) squares off against Western at 8 p.m.
Regional winner advances to the National Junior College Athletic Association Menís Division I National Basketball Tournament, March 20-24, at Hutchinson, Kan.
Women semifinal games will be played at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday followed by the menís semifinals at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The championship games are slated at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday.
Winner of the Region II Tournament advances to the National Junior College Athletic Conference National Tournament, March 20-24, in Salina, Kan.
"Our game with Eastern is definitely going to be a tough one," Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland said. "Just because we enter the tournament with a 20-9 season record and they are 10-20 doesnít mean a thing.
"In every conference tournament all across the country, the first game is always the hardest because youíre coming into it with jitters and uncertainty," Rowland said. "Not only did Eastern knock Redlands out of the tournament and get to play a game on Monday, but, they ended the regular season with a 68-67 win over Connors State in Warner."
Rowland understands that even though the Lady Norse rank 13th in the nation by allowing an average of 52 points per game, a consistent offense could be more valuable entering the regional.
"We need to execute well offensively," Rowland said. "Our defense has been very solid all year long, but our main objective is to survive and advance.
"This first game will be tough because Eastern is riding high on their confidence and weíre playing at a neutral site," Rowland said. "Besides, coach Taylor gives them energy and confidence, so weíll have to be ready to play a full 40 minutes."
Although the Lady Norse won both regular season games, NEO had to overcome a 28-27 halftime deficit to record a 60-57 win in Wilburton on Jan. 23. The Lady Norse offense shot only 36 per cent from the field (21 of 58) but 15 points by Wilka Montout and 12 from Kendrea Harbert along with 10 points each by BriAna Garza and Eliana Fernandez fueled the victory.
Ashley Catlett paced the Lady Mountaineers with 17 points while Patrina Goree added 13, Demetra howlingwolf 12 and Jamie Hicks 10 points.
Two weeks ago the Lady Norse limited the Lady Mountaineers to 15 points in the first half en route to a 72-43 win in the NEO Fieldhouse. Kayla Anderson led the Lady Norse with 19 points, Fernandez 18, Harbert 13 and Montout 12. Howlingwolf tallied 13 points to lead Eastern.
"Weíve had a week off to refine some things in our offense," Rowland said. "Itís important for us to come out fighting and execute well at both ends of the court."
With a win the Lady Norse will face the Seminole-NOC-Tonkawa winner at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets for the tournament include an all-session pass available for purchase on Thursday or Friday for $20. Thursday through Saturday there are two sessions each day. Individual session tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students.