SHAWNEE — Entering the quarterfinals of the Women’s Division I Region II Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the fifth consecutive year, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College must play the waiting game first before knowing which team they face.
The Lady Norse start the single elimination tournament at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Oklahoma Baptist University Noble Complex ranked No.
21 in the nation.
NEO will face either Western State College (4-12 and 10-19) or Arkansas Baptist College (8-20).
The two teams participate in a play-in game at 7 p.m. Monday in Altus.
During the regular season, the Lady Norse defeated the Western Lady Pioneers 65-47 in Altus on Jan. 14 and 74-49 on Feb. 12 in the NEO Field House.
After watching Arkansas Baptist play twice in their own classic Nov. 3-4 in Little Rock, the Lady Norse handed the Lady Buffaloes an 80-44
loss on Nov. 25 in the Trinity Valley Classic.
“We played Western twice during the regular season and we played Arkansas Baptist at the Trinity Valley Classic in Athens, Texas, last November,” Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland said. “We’ll prepare for both of them a little, even though they play a little bit different style.
“The Arkansas bunch likes to pressure you full court and they do set ball screens,” Rowland said. “We’re used to that because Western does the same things, but just not as much.
“Arkansas Baptist has a lot of athleticism while Western isn’t quite as athletic,” Rowland said. “But, I think we’re prepared for both of them as best as we can be.”
Owners of a 15-game winning streak, the Lady Norse did not lose a game the entire second half of the season. Along with finishing 16-0 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Lady Norse are 24-4 on the season.
“This is what we refer to as our ‘second season’,” Rowland said. “The tournament is a different situation and teams react differently. It’s a different mind-set.
“The old adage is ‘survive and advance because there’s no tomorrow’,” Rowland said. “So our kids have got to play with that attitude because it could be a one-and-done deal.”
Action in the tournament tips off at 1 p.m. Wednesday with No. 4 seed Redlands Community College (8-8 and 15-12) battling No. 5 seed
Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa (8-8 and 12-15).
Following the NEO game, No. 2 seed Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (12-4 and 25-5) will face the winner of the Connors State (6-10 and 14-16)-Eastern State (3-13 and 8-22) play-in game at 6 p.m. The Connors Cowgirls host the Lady Mountaineers at 7 p.m. Monday in the Melvin Self Field House at Warner.
Quarterfinal action concludes at 8 p.m. Wednesday with No. 3 seed Seminole State College (9-7 and 12-14) playing No. 6 seed Murray State College (6-10 and 10-18).
After taking a break on Thursday, the women’s semifinals will be at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday followed by the men’s semifinals.
The championship game is at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Noble Complex.
Winner of the regional advances to the Women’s Division I NJCAA National Tournament, March 19-24, in Lubbock, Texas.
The tournament is played in the RIP Griffin Center at Lubbock Christian University.