'Hawks collect first win

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Southeast romped to an 83-48 victory over Arkansas-Monticello.

It didn't take Southeast Missouri State coach B.J. Smith long to realize that the Redhawks did not exactly come ready to play Tuesday night.

"That might be the earliest timeout I've ever called," Smith said.

Just five seconds into Southeast's home opener against Division II Arkansas-Monticello, Smith stopped the clock and let the Redhawks know he wasn't very pleased.

The message didn't quite sink in right away, but it did ultimately as the Redhawks overcame a shaky first half to blow out the Cotton Blossoms 83-48 at the Show Me Center.

"After the Texas Tech game, I thought we might have a letdown," Smith said. "It was ugly. But it's good to get that first win."

Southeast had lost 85-56 to Texas Tech, a national power, in Friday's season opener.

Although Southeast (1-1) never trailed Tuesday, the Redhawks let Arkansas-Monticello (2-2) hang around long enough to forge a 28-28 tie late in the first half.

Southeast scored the last nine points of the period to go ahead 37-28 at halftime, then hit the Cotton Blossoms with a 19-4 run over the first seven minutes of the second half to break things wide open.

"We took it for granted. We were too relaxed," senior point guard Wanika Owsley said.

Asked what Smith told the Redhawks at halftime, a smiling Owsley said, "We better pick it up or we're going to get beat."

The Redhawks picked up the pace defensively in the second half, which had Smith relatively pleased after the contest. Arkansas-Monticello shot 18.2 percent over the final 20 minutes and 26.7 percent for the game.

"A lot of coaches say you're not going to play well in these games [against Division II opponents], but I think you can execute and get a lot done," Smith said. "In the second half we got a lot better. We took care of the ball better and guarded them better."

Southeast had a whopping 21 turnovers in the first half and finished with 32. Arkansas-Monticello had 28 turnovers.

Senior forward/center Tatiana Conceicao, the reigning Ohio Valley Conference player of the year, led the Redhawks with 17 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds as Southeast held a huge 60-29 edge on the boards.

Senior forward Simone Jackson was Southeast's only other double-figure scorer with 13 points.

Owsley had a strong performance with nine points, a career-high nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals.

All 15 Southeast players saw action and 14 scored.

"It was good to let everybody play in a game like this," Smith said.

Taking advantage of a big edge inside, the Redhawks shot 55.6 percent in the first half and 48.4 percent for the game, although they made just four of 16 3-pointers.

After Arkansas-Monticello pulled into a 28-28 tie late in the first half, freshman guard Chytearra Kintchen put the Redhawks ahead for good with a fast-break layup and free throw with 1:17 left.

"She gave us a nice spark," said Smith of Kintchen, who had three steals.

The Redhawks will now get ready for their second annual HealthPoint Plaza Thanksgiving Classic as they host Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1-2) Friday night and Division II power Henderson State (3-0) Saturday night.

"We'll have to play a lot better against those teams than we did tonight," Smith said.

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