WILBURTON — The regular season finale for the Northeastern A&M women followed the same script as many of their games: close but only a loss to show for it.
The Lady Norse threatened in the final minute of play, but wound up dropping a 63-59 decision to Eastern Oklahoma State College here Thursday, Feb. 27.
That was the sixth loss of the season by seven or fewer points for NEO, which dropped to .500 in both the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference (8-8) and overall (13-13).
The loss, the third in four games, means the Lady Norse will have to host a play-in game with Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa on Monday to get into the Region II tournament that starts Wednesday in Shawnee.
“The locker room was very somber,” Lady Norse coach Jim Rowland said. “They knew they are not playing well and that the game was theirs to win. It hurts. I hurt for them because they know they are better. We have to find a way to be consistent.”
Eastern, which claimed the No. 2 seed for Region II play with the win, led 20-19 after the first quarter and 35-30 at the break.
The Lady Norse held a 16-15 edge in the third, then each team scored 13 points in the final stanza.
“The game seesawed back and forth, but once again, we didn’t shoot it (the ball) very well,” Rowland said. “Credit them on the defense, but we’ve still got to put the ball in the hole. There were several positions where we had some ‘chippies.’ When you get three offensive rebounds and are 2- to 4-feet away from the basket, you’ve got to put the thing in.”
NEO only shot 20% from the field in the second quarter and was 22 of 58 on the night (38%).
The Lady Norse connected on only two of their 12 attempts from 3-point range.
“I thought we battled,” Rowland said. “I thought we played hard. I thought we did some good things defensively, but once again, on the offensive side of the ball, its got to be better.”
Kiarra Brooks, Ivvana Murillo and Eliska Stebetakova all had 14 points for NEO.
Others scoring were Koreea Kirksey, six; Gabriella Chivata, five; Kine Diop, four, and Dariann Myles, two.
Eastern, which split the two regular season games with the Lady Norse, had three players in double figures:
Kenzie Ezekiel, 19; Deja Williams, 16, and Tijanae Simmons, 10.