Govs rally to snap Redhawks' winning streak at 8

Sunday, January 14, 2007

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn -- Whether it was strong offensive execution by Austin Peay or faulty defensive work by Southeast Missouri State, one thing is clear:~ Southeast was outscored by 25 pointsin the second halfof a 75-60 loss.

The Redhawks' normally suffocating defense had no answer for the Governors' normally subpar offense in the second half Saturday night.

So Southeast's winning streak is over at eight games, courtesy of host Austin Peay's 75-60 comeback victory.

The Redhawks (11-5, 6-2 Ohio Valley Conference) missed out on a chance to move back into a first-place OVC tie. Southeast is tied for second with Morehead State, one game behind Murray State.

"They brought it for 40 minutes, and we didn't," Southeast junior guard Ashley Lovelady said.

Southeast entered play leading the OVC in field-goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 37.2 percent. The Redhawks were giving up an average of only 64.3 points per game.

Austin Peay (6-11, 5-3), on the other hand, was ninth in the 11-team OVC in field-goal shooting at 39.5 percent, and the Govs were tied for last in scoring with an average of 57.8 points per game.

Form held in the first half as the Govs shot 28.6 percent and trailed 33-23 at the intermission, although Southeast led 31-16 at one point.

But Austin Peay exploded offensively in the second half, shooting 58.1 percent and outscoring Southeast 52-27 as the Govs won for the fourth time in their past five games.

"You're not going to beat anybody when they shoot 58 percent," Southeast acting head coach John Ishee said. "I don't feel like we had the same intensity or sense of urgency [in the second half].

"But I knew Austin Peay was a good team, and they were just the better team tonight. They were the aggressor."

Said Southeast sophomore point guard Tarina Nixon: "I think we just came out a little unfocused in the second half. One thing led to another and then it was a domino effect. Austin Peay played good, but I felt like our intensity wasn't there."

It surely didn't help Southeast that leading scorer Missy Whitney missed a good part of the second half with foul trouble after she scored 13 first-half points.

Whitney had only one foul at halftime but picked up three fouls in the first 3 minutes, 30 seconds of the final period.

Whitney finished with 19 points, hitting seven of 11 shots, but she played only 10 second-half minutes.

The junior's absence was felt offensively and defensively, as Austin Peay seemingly got the ball inside at will during most of the final half.

Austin Peay took its first lead since 3-2 on senior forward Alicia Watson's basket with 12:22 remaining, putting the Govs on top 47-46.

The Govs never looked back, completing a 12-0 run that made it 54-46 with less than 10 minutes left. Southeast closed within four points twice, including 61-57 with 4:47 left, but Austin Peay used a 9-2 run to go up 70-59 with two minutes remaining. The Govs cruised from there.

Southeast senior center Lachelle Lyles, the nation's leading rebounder, grabbed 20 rebounds. It was her fourth game of the season with 20 or more boards.

Southeast's only other double-figure scorer was Lovelady, who had 10 points but hit just four of 13 shots.

Besides Whitney, every Southeast player shot less than 50 percent from the field, as the Redhawks finished at 38.2 percent (21 of 55).

The Govs held their own on the boards, allowing Southeast to outrebound them just 42-37, even though the Redhawks ranked 10th nationally with a 10.8 per-game rebounding advantage.

"They got 15 offensive rebounds. That hurt us," Ishee said.

Junior center Kellea Reeves led the Govs with 20 points, 15 in the second half. Watson had 16 points.

"We'll learn from this. It's not going to make or break us," Lovelady said. "We've still got 12 conference games left. The season isn't over."

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