LUBBOCK, Texas — Execution breakdowns cost the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Lady Norse Monday, March 19, in the opening round of the NJCAA Division I Women's National Basketball Championship.
The end result was a 51-38 loss by the No. 13 seed Lady Norse to No. 20 seed Trinity Valley Community College at the Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University.
While snapping an 18-game winning streak the Lady Norse finish the season with a 27-5 overall record.
The eight-time NJCAA national champion Lady Cardinals carried a 28-5 season record Wednesday's second-round game with No. 4 seed Jones County Junior College (26-3) from Ellisville, Mississippi.
"We just couldn't get anything going at either end of the court," Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland said. "Our defense was pretty solid, but Trinity Valley made plays when they had to and we didn't.
"You can't have 14 turnovers in the first two quarters and 12 in the second half act and expect to win," Rowland said. "Trinity Valley was a difficult team to open with.
"They had more depth than we did and they took advantage of that fact," Rowland said. "I really think that if we had played each other in the second round, the outcome would have been different."
During the first quarter the Lady Norse struggled to find some consistency in their offense while hitting only 2-of-9 field goals. NEO trailed by a 14-7 margin entering the second 10 minutes.
NEO's only lead of the game, 4-1, came at the 9:28 juncture of the first quarter.
Five straight one-shot possessions by NEO in the second quarter enabled the Lady Cardinals to build a 28-15 advantage heading to the locker room at halftime.
"Trinity Valley did a good job of taking both Mariam (center Mariam Gnanou) and Bethy (forward Bethy Mununga) out of their games in the first half," Rowland said. "Even though Bethy posted another double-double (11 points and 16 rebounds), neither one of them could get into a consistent game."
The Lady Norse outscored the Lady Cardinals by a 17-14 margin in the third quarter to trail by a 42-32 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
NEO's last field goal in the game occurred at the 9:28 mark of the third quarter.
Neither team generated any offense during the last quarter as Trinity Valley held a 9-6 edge in the final 10 minutes.
Mununga was the lone Lady Norse player to score in double figures with 11 points while Megan Jackson added eight, Gnanou seven, Eneritz Larranaga six and Amare Weary and Mikayla Shulanberger had three each.
The Lady Norse connected on 8 of 40, including 4 of 11 from 3-point range, for a meager 20 percent from the field.
NEO sank 18 of 26 from the free throw line for 69 percent.
Freshman guard Tyasia Moore paced the Lady Cardinals with 16 points and Arleighshya McElroy added 15.
Trinity Valley didn’t fare much better, shooting only 27 percent from the field — 20 of 73, including 4 of 15 from the 3-point area.
The Lady Cardinals made seven of their nine free throw attempts.
Brooks, a 6-0 guard from Wichita Falls, Texas, grabbed 19 rebounds to give Trinity Valley a 49-39 advantage on the boards.
The Lady Cardinals outscored NEO 20-3 from the bench while holding a 20-11 advantage in points off turnovers.