SEMINOLE — Thrust in the quest for their fourth straight Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference crown,12th-ranked Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College travels to Raymond C. Harbor Field House at 5:30 p.m. Monday to face Seminole State College.
After defeating Labette (Kansas) Community College 78-66 last Tuesday in a non-conference contest at Parsons, Kansas, the Lady Norse are 12-2 on the season. NEO is a perfect 2-0 in conference play.
“Our sophomores realize that the fourth straight conference title is on the line in these last 14 games,” Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland said. “They want to be that team that goes out and wins that fourth title.
“They’re ready to take on that challenge,” Rowland said. “They know that every Monday and Thursday when they take the court that every opponent is going to throw their best at us trying to knock that bulls eye off our backs.”
Dean of the OCAC coaches, Rita Story-Schell is in her 17th season as head coach of the Belles.
Prior to Saturday’s non-conference game at Brown Mackie College in Salina, Kansas, the Belles are 6-5 and 1-1 in conference action.
Last season the Belles finished 8-10 in the OCAC and 14-14 overall. NEO swept the regular season series last year with a 74-54 victory in Miami. Seminole dropped a 78-72 decision on their home court to the Lady Norse.
“Coach Story-Schell’s team will rely on a lot of dribble penetration in the lane,” Rowland said. “Their perimeter girls do a great job of guarding against the 3-pointer.
“They also have a three girls both in the post and on the perimeter that can both play fast and score inside the paint,” Rowland said. “They really love to crash the offensive boards.”
Sophomore shooting guard Torrii Tarkington (5-8) and veteran point guard Ray’Shionne Smith (5-5) lead the Belles offense. Tarkington averages 18.2 points per game and 5.2 rebounds while Smith has a 10.2 scoring mark with 33 assists and 11 steals.
Veteran power forward Olivia Wells (5-11) leads the Belles with a 6.2 rebounding average while scoring 10.2 points per game.
“Once these three girls get in a rhythm, they can score at any given time,” Rowland said. “If they are allowed to get things going, Seminole will be hard to beat.”