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Redhawks conclude homestand tonight
Southeast will try to even its season record when Harris-Stowe visits the Show Me Center.
The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team appears to have had a tendency to play either up or down to its level of competition through the early part of the season.
Acting head coach John Ishee hopes the Redhawks (1-2) can avoid that tonight when they finish off a three-game homestand with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff against NAIA Harris-Stowe (2-4).
Southeast should be heavily favored to beat the Hornets, who went 1-30 last year but appear to be considerably improved, although Ishee is still wary.
"They'll be very athletic, and we have to come to play," said Ishee, who continues to run the squad after fifth-year head coach B.J. Smith was placed on paid administrative leave by the university prior to the season. "We can't overlook them."
The Redhawks are coming off a strong showing Friday night against highly touted Florida State, staying close most of the way before dropping a 64-50 decision at the Show Me Center.
Southeast also played Tulsa tough in its only road game to date, falling by 13 points. Florida State and Tulsa both advanced to the second round of last year's NCAA tournament.
But the Redhawks were sluggish last week during a four-point home win over first-year NCAA Division I member Central Arkansas.
"We have to be ready to play no matter who we're playing against," Southeast senior center Lachelle Lyles said.
Lyles and sophomore guard Tarina Nixon -- the only two returning Southeast players who saw significant action on last year's NCAA tourney squad -- believe the lessons learned against the likes of Florida State and Tulsa will help the inexperienced Redhawks down the road.
"These kind of games are going to make us better," Nixon said. "We've got a lot of players who didn't play that much last year and some new players, so we're still kind of learning to play with each other.
"I think we're getting better every game and I think we have a chance to be really good again, just like last year."
Said Lyles: "Playing teams like Florida State and Tulsa will help us a lot. These are very good teams, and we're able to play right with them."
Two newcomers -- both junior college transfers -- are leading the Redhawks offensively.
Junior guard Ashley Lovelady, from Moberly Area College, is averaging 13.3 points per game. She had topped Southeast in scoring the past two games, with 12 points against Florida State and 21 points vs. Central Arkansas.
Missy Whitney, from Three Rivers Community College by way of Charleston High School, is averaging 12.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
Nixon, Southeast's lone returning starter, is at 11.3 points per game. She also leads the Redhawks in assists with a 4.3 average.
Lyles is Southeast's leading rebounder, averaging 11 a contest after grabbing 15 against Florida State.