NEO Women Prep for Seminole State - KOAM TV 7

NEO Women Prep for Seminole State



MIAMI — Following a four-week break for the holidays, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Lady Norse return to action at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, in an Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference clash with Seminole State College in the NEO Field House.

Originally scheduled for Monday, the game was switched to avoid a conflict with the NCAA Football National Championship game scheduled for broadcast at 7 p.m. Monday between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama.

“We’ve been working on conditioning since we got back on campus,” Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland said. “I thought we came back a little sluggish after the break and we want them to be back where we were before we left.

“It’s not about just running them into the ground,” Rowland said. “We’re trying to get some air up underneath them so they came go out and play at the level we were at last semester.”

Locked in a three-way tie with Northern Oklahoma College-Enid and Redlands Community College for the conference lead, the Lady Norse are 2-0 in the league.

Winners of five of their last six games, the Lady Norse are 10-4 on the season. NEO defeated Three Rivers, Missouri, 72-45, Dec. 9, in the final round of the Crowder College Classic in Neosho, Missouri.

“Another focus we’ve had has been on the fundamentals,” Rowland said. “We’re not like starting all over, but we want to be able to return to the level we were in terms of our offensive and defensive skills right before the break.”

Veteran head coach Rita Story-Schell has guided the Belles to a 1-1 conference record and a 4-8 overall mark. Seminole dropped a 70-59 decision on Dec. 8, to Howard, Texas on the campus of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Last season the Belles finished 9-7 in the OCAC and 14-12 overall. The Belles lost 96-68 to the Lady Norse in the Raymond C. Harbor Field House. NEO defeated the Belles 82-62 in Miami to complete the series sweep.

“We’re working real hard on our defensive stuff, especially in the half-court,” Rowland said. “We want them to be more aggressive in the blocking out phase because I feel like we’re a step behind right now.”

Averaging 67.9 points per game thus far on offense, the Lady Norse defense is surrendering an average of 54.7 points per game.

“We’re also cleaning things up offensively and trying to get our shot back with the air underneath us,” Rowland said. “When we’re doing these various drills the girls are shooting when they’re tired and that also gets them back into shape.

Even though all 11 players returned from the break, Rowland will only have eight players available for the Seminole game.

“We got everybody back, but all 11 won’t be available to play until Monday, Jan. 15,” Rowland said. “All five of our starters will have to be ready to play extended minutes because of our lack of depth.”

Sophomore shooting guard Mikayla Shulanberger (5-9 from Skiatook) leads the Lady Norse with a 14-point scoring average. She grabs 2.2 rebounds per game with 21 assists and 18 steals.

Freshman point-guard Meagan Jackson (5-9 from Tulsa Washington) averages 13.9 points with 33 assists and 13 steals.

Sophomore Eneritz Larranaga and freshman Bethy Mununga start on the wings for the Lady Norse.

Larranaga (5-6 from Spain) leads NEO with 78 assists and 12 steals while averaging 8.2 points per game.

Mununga (5-11 from Belguim) is averaging a double-double with 12.2 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. She also has recorded 19 blocked shots.

Veteran Mariam Gnanou (6-5 from the West Ivory Coast) starts at center for the Lady Norse. She leads the team with 20 blocked shots while averaging 9.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

“Seminole concerns me because of their depth,” Rowland said. “She (coach Story-Schell) has 17 players on her roster and she plays them all.

“We’ll have to take care of the basketball and stay out of foul trouble,” Rowland said. “They don’t shoot the ball as well as they have in the past, but they are a well balanced team with the ability to beat anybody.”

Sophomore forward Kaci Richardson (5-11 from Oklahoma City) leads Seminole with a 14.7 scoring average and a 7.2 rebounding mark. She has recorded 14 assists and 12 steals

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