EL RENO — The Achilles’ heel of the Northeastern A&M women’s basketball team all season long has been cold shooting.
They've averaged only 37.1% on the season and shot only 23.6% in a 68-49 loss to Redlands Community College here Monday, Feb. 17.
“When you don't shoot it well, you don't put any pressure on anybody,” Lady Norse coach Jim Rowland said. “That’s the name of the game. You can play defense and win championships all you want, but when you don't put the ball in the hole, you are never going to give yourself a chance to win that championship, either.
“You’ve got to score. That is the name of the game.”
NEO, which trailed 37-21 at the break, took 17 more shots than the Lady Cougars, but also found the mark on five fewer field goals.
The Lady Norse were 17 of 72 while Redlands was 22 of 55.
One key was that the hosts went 20 of 26 at the free throw line compared to 10 of 11 for NEO A&M.
“One of my keys to the game was we needed to come out punching first and we cant play uphill,” Rowland said. “We were playing uphill all game long. We couldn't buy a basket. Once again, I thought they got momentum right out of the gate. We needed that — we just never could find it.
“Credit them. They played hard. They played well. They hit big shots when it counted. We just never could get ourselves in a groove at all.”
Redlands was up 15-9 after the opening quarter then carried the 15-point advantage into the break.
The Lady Cougars then outscored NEO 20-16 in the third frame.
“I thought we played defense well,” Rowland said. “We limited them to 68. It’s not like they go out and score 85 and beat us by 40. We’ve got to give them a game as well, though.”
Redlands (21-5) improved to 10-4 in conference play. Murray State, which comes calling Thursday night, is 9-4.
Northern-Enid and Eastern Oklahoma State are 8-5 and the Lady Norse dropped to 7-6.
“We have two in a row at home, but on the flip side of that, we have a hot Murray team that’s won 10 straight coming in. That is a hot-shooting team. We’re going to have to find a way to cool them off.”
Two games remain on NEO’s schedule: Monday in the home finale with Western Oklahoma State and Thursday, Feb. 27 at Eastern.
Ivvana Murillo headed up the Lady Norse scoring with 16 points. Dariann Myles added 14.
Others with points for NEO were Koreea Kirksey, Eliska Stebetakova and Kine Diop with four each, Kayla Shepperd with three and Kiarra Brooks and Gabriela Chivata with two apiece.
Four of Murray’s five starters were in double figures, topped by Reneya Hopkins with 18.
Mariah Jones had 13, Karyssa Jackson 12 and Kiara Lovings 10.