MIAMI — Someone’s “oh” had to go — and thankfully it wasn’t Northeastern A&M’s.
The Lady Norse flipped a 10 point first-half deficit into a huge lead during a 69-49 upset of 19th-ranked Northern Oklahoma-Enid Thursday, Jan. 9 at the NEO Field House.
The Lady Jets had entered the game 11-2 and 3-0 in conference play while NEO was 7-5 and 2-0.
No. 24 Redlands (15-1) improved to 3-0 in the conference with a 63-60 win at home with Seminole State Thursday night.
NEO trailed 22-12 early in the first quarter, but pulled to within one at intermission.
The Lady Norse dominated the second half, outscoring NOC 45-24 over the final 20 minutes, including a 23-12 margin in a crucial third quarter.
NEO coach Jim Rowland urged his players to just play within themselves, and it worked.
“I just told them to keep calm, the ball was going to fall, don’t think that you’ve got to score in waves,” Rowland said. “It was going to be our defense that allows us to get back in this. We just had to relax and not to try too much.
“I told them all week that when you are playing a great team like them, you can’t panic, just keep pushing forward.”
Rowland admitted he was surprised by the 20-point margin of victory.
“I really am,” he said. “I do love our defense, but I am surprised at the final score. I thought we did a good job of taking some things away from them that they wanted to do. They really love to shoot the basketball from beyond the arc.”
Northern shot only 23.5% from the field in the game, including 5 of 21 on 3-point attempts.
The 49 points is a season-low for the Lady Jets, who were without two key players, including sophomore forward/center Sarah Griswold, who was an all-Region 2 first-teamer last season.
“I thought we got them tired,” Rowland said, noting that pushing the tempo helped with that.
Three players were in double figures for NEO.
Ivvana Murillo tallied 20 for the winners and Gabriela Chivata and Kiarra Brooks added 15 and 11, respectively.
The Lady Norse also got seven from Kayla Shepperd, six from Eliska Stebetakova, four from Koreea Kirksey, three from Marliah Johnson and two from Kine Dopp.
Stebetakova had a team-best 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
Shelby Black was Northern’s top scorer with 11 points.
The Lady Norse travel to Connors State for conference play Monday night.