WARNER — Free throws down the stretch helped Connors State College get away with an 86-83 double overtime home-court victory over Northeastern A&M Monday, Jan. 13.
“We let that one get away from us,” Lady Norse coach Jim Rowland said. “I thought it was a game that we controlled until there was a momentum swing. You’ve got to put the gas pedal down once you get a team down”
The Lady Norse let a 22-4 first quarter lead slip away as Connors used a 22-12 advantage in the second frame to whittle the deficit to 32-26.
NEO held a 14-13 edge in the third then the Cowgirls forced overtime with a 22-15 run in the fourth to tie the score at 61.
“In the second quarter, we’re up 13 and the turning point in the game was when the shot clock was running down, we don’t go out at them and they hit a 3,” Rowland said. “That was a key point in the game and it got them back into it.
“We’ve got to know time management. Even though some kids don’t shoot it very well, we’ve got to know when that shot clock is running down, that is a sense of urgency and can’t let them throw up a shot.”
A 3-point goal by Koreea Kirksey with seven seconds left in the first overtime made it 73-all.
Cheyanne drained a pair of free throws to give CSC the lead, then Tateum Jones sealed the win for the Cowgirls with a free throw with two seconds left.
“I thought we controlled the game the whole time until we got relaxed and gave up some shots that allowed them to get back in it,” Rowland said. “They started developing that confidence. I just felt like we didn’t respond after they climbed back in it.
“The part that I felt we relaxed on was the defensive side of it. We started giving up stuff when we got away from the game plan and allowed some shots that they might normally not make. At the same time, when you start getting some confidence and the game is on the line, they are going to take those chances and take shots. When you are at home, it's a different feeling.”
The Lady Norse got double-digit scoring from four players.
Koreea Kirksey had a game-high 28, followed by Ivanna Murillo with 19; Eliska Stebetakova a season-best 16 and Kiarra Brooks added 11.
Stebetakova also had 14 rebounds for her fourth double double of the season.
NEO also picked up four from Kine Diop, three from Gabriela Chivata and one from Kaitlin Benge.
Lauren Wright led Connors with 23 points, followed by Jasmyn Taylor with 18 and Tateum Jones and De’Asia Reed with 10 each.
The Lady Norse host Redlands Thursday, Jan. 16.