MIAMI — Continuing to search for some consistency on the offensive end, the No. 17 ranked Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Lady Norse defeated Coffeyville Community College, 56-49, Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the NEO Field House.
Remaining at home for a 5:30 p.m. contest, Thursday, the Lady Norse (3-1) battle the Missouri Southern State University junior varsity.
These two games have provided Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland an opportunity to see how good a teacher-coach he really is.
The head coach of the MSSU Lady Lions is Kelby Fritz who served last year as Rowland’s assistant while both Coffeyville coaches were members of NEO basketball programs.
Lady Raven (2-2) head coach Stephen Harrel coached with NEO’s Dustin Grover while assistant Anita (Hernandez) Walker worked under Rowland.
“We struggled again offensively tonight against Coffeyville,” Rowland said. “We’ve got to not be afraid to take more shots and gain more confidence in ourselves.
“When you play great defense like we do, you’re bound to give up something,” Rowland said. “You get tired because you’re standing around not doing anything.
“As a result, you wind up giving up something especially after you’ve played your butts off on the defensive end,” Rowland said. “Hopefully, we’ll find our offensive rhythm and start hitting shots.
“Eventually, we’re going to come up against a team that is very good offensively,” Rowland said. “We’ve got to be able to keep up with their scoring capabilities.”
Coffeyville opened the game with the Lady Norse by constructing a 12-9 lead through the first quarter.
Reserve Lady Raven guard Sky Jasper scored four points and forward MaKayla Tanksley added four along with baskets by Nalon Smith and Tera Fullove in the first 10 minutes.
Led by eight points from Alexus Geans and five by Megan Jackson, along with a 3-pointer by Mikayla Schulanberger and a layup from Bethy Mununga during the second quarter, the Lady Norse carried a 27-21 lead to the locker room at halftime.
“Not only are we inconsistent on offense, but we’re still committing too many fouls,” Rowland said. “But, a lot of that is because we fight hard at both ends of the floor and we stayed locked in.”
Even though Coffeyville outscored NEO by a 14-13 margin in the third quarter, the Lady Norse received six points from Schulanberger and three free throws each by Eneritz Larranaga and Jackson to build a 40-35 cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
Entering the stretch run, the Lady Norse held a 16-14 edge to secure the victory.
“I don’t know if this group understands yet that I’ve given them free rein when it comes to shooting the 3-pointer,” Rowland said. “They need to realize when to take those shots.
“Credit Coffeyville because they didn’t give us very many looks beyond the arc,” Rowland said. “As a team, we’re not seeing those opportunities and we’ve got to get the ball out of our hands a lot faster.”
As a result, the Lady Norse were only 2-of-10 from 3-point range which is the lowest number of shots taken in a game during Rowland’s tenure as head coach.
Coffeyville’s bench outscored NEO by a 32-15 margin.
Schulanberger paced the Lady Norse with 12 points while Geans contributed 11, Larranaga nine, Jackson eight, Mariam Gnanou seven, Mununga five and Amare Weary four.
Jasper led all scorers with 21 points while Fullove and Tanksley added 10 points each.
Smith four, Kaylee Brown three and Cedreamna Lee one.
Larranaga and Geans grabbed six rebounds each as NEO held a 32-19 advantage on the boards. Lucy Burke led Coffeyville with five rebounds.
The Lady Norse were scheduled to compete Friday and Saturday in the Highlands (Kansas) Classic.
“B.J. (Smith, the Highlands head coach) called Wednesday and told me they had to move the classic back to Thursday and Friday because Highlands had a home football game on Saturday and they wouldn’t have enough people to work,” Rowland said.
“So, because we were scheduled to play two JV teams up there and we were already playing on Wednesday and Thursday here, I told him we couldn’t come,” Rowland said.
The Lady Norse travel to Sedalia, Missouri, Nov. 17-18, to participate in the State Fair Community College Classic.