Coming back from a long holiday break can be challenging for a basketball team. Having three weeks off is good to have the mental break from the demands of school, but that goes hand in hand with being unproductive by binge watching your favorite seasons on a streaming service and eating less than healthy food. Although fun and relaxing at the time, it could spell disaster for an athletic program who has to play a high intensity sport once returning to campus. After coming back, the Plainswomen coaching staff knew they needed to get their girls back into shape to be able to be successful for two Region IX conference games.
With a week worth of conditioning and getting the women back into the habit of running the offense and executing effectively, the team felt as ready as they could be for Otero and Lamar. The first game against Otero would be their toughest not only because of the competition, but also because of having to get in the rhythm of playing with each other again. As the ball was tossed into the air and Katie Diakhaby winning the tip, the game was underway.
The Plainswomen would start the game by going on a 6-1 run, but the Rattlers would eventually catch up and the game would go back and forth scoring. At the end of the first quarter, the game would be tied 13-13. In the second quarter, the Rattlers would get themselves a slight five point lead, but Northeastern would chip away and eventually lead as the half would end with a 28-24 score. With it being a low scoring game, it could go either way by a team opening it up or a team getting cold.
The third quarter would be another evenly matched quarter as Otero would exchange buckets with the Plainswomen, but NJC would get a few extra and extend their lead 43-35. The fourth would prove to be the best for NJC as they would dominate on the scoring side. The Plainswomen would outscore the Rattlers 15-7 in the fourth and win the game 58-42.
With their first game behind them and the rust out of their system, the women were ready for game two of the weekend. The game would start out with NJC taking a quick lead and sustaining it with a narrow margin of 17-15 as the buzzer blared at the quarter. In the second, the Lopes were able to find the bottom of the net a few more times than the Plainswomen to cut the lead back and lead by two at halftime with a score of 37-35. Again, the second half would be the proving ground for either team and would determine the victory.
In the third, scoring would alternate between teams and would be tied 42-42 at the six minute mark. From that point until the end of the half, the Plainswomen would dominate the offensive side of the court and go on a 13-7 run. That run would eventually go into the final quarter too because the women were red hot. Northeastern would outscore the Lopes in the fourth 25-8 and finish the game by extending that run from the third to a 38-15 run and winning the game 80-57.
Katie Diakhaby would have an outstanding game by having a double-double with 25 points and 19 rebounds (11 of which rebounds were offensive). Coming next in scoring would again be Tashika Burrell with having 20 points of her own.
The Plainswomen will be on the road on Wednesday January 10 at 4:30 MST (5:30 CST) as they travel to play the Knights of North Platte Community College.