Sophomore forward Wilka Montout scored 15 points and won the Dixie Woodall Inspirational Award as the Northeastern A&M Lady Norse defeated Seminole State College 48-42 Thursday night in the NEO Fieldhouse.
While finishing the regular season with a four-game winning streak, coach Jim Rowland's second seed Lady Norse carry a 20-9 season record into Thursday's quarterfinals of the Women's Division I Region II Tournament at Oklahoma Baptist University's Noble Complex in Shawnee.
"Anytime you can hold a team to just 16 points in a half, you are accomplishing something," Rowland said. "We're not ranked 13th in the nation for our defense for northing."
"We pride ourselves on the defensive side of the ball and it really showed," Rowland said. "Once again, we didn't play very good offensively, but it was good enough to win."
Although the 6-5 Montout only scored two points in the first half, the Lady Norse received a 3-point field goal by BriAna Garza and a layup from Eliana Fernandez to erase a 12-10 deficit with 4:03 before halftime.
Another trey from Garza and five straight points by Fernandez enabled NEO to build a 23-16 lead at intermission.
Six points inside the paint from Montout along with field goals by Kendrea Harbert, Katy Cooper, Megan Scheiber and Garza increased the Lady Norse lead to 37-26 with 9:09 left in the game.
Over the final six minutes, Montout scored seven points inside as the Lady Norse fought off a Seminole charge.
Along with Montout's 15 points, NEO received 12 points from Garza.
DaNara Bay tallied 15 points to lead the Belles in scoring.