Southeast women dominate exhibition

Friday, November 2, 2007
SEMO[']s Ashley Lovelady maneuvers around Auburn's Brittany Moore during the first half of the exhibition game on Thursday, November 1, 2007 at the Show Me Center. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

Redhawks notch 63-41 victory over Auburn-Montgomery.

It was only an exhibition, but the Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team picked up where it left off last season.

Perennial NAIA power Auburn-Montgomery proved no match for the Redhawks, who rolled to a 63-41 victory Thursday night at the Show Me Center.

"I thought we did pretty good," senior guard Ashley Lovelady said. "You can always do better, but I think we'll be all right this year."

With four starters back from a squad that posted the program's best record on the Division I level -- a 24-8 mark that featured second straight Ohio Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles -- the Redhawks are favored to three-peat.

Southeast Missouri State's Tore Fite drove inside for a basket against Auburn-Montgomery's Carlie Ainsworth during the first half Thursday at the Show Me Center. (AARON EISENHAUER

They romped in their lone exhibition contest against a team that went 28-6 last year and was ranked 14th nationally in NAIA, but returned just one starter.

"I was pleased with our intensity level," Southeast coach John Ishee said. "I was pleased that we played the game and not the name of the school on their shirt.

"Auburn-Montgomery has a quality program and they're very well coached."

Southeast played without junior point guard Tarina Nixon, a two-year starter who is battling back problems but hopes to be ready when the regular season begins Nov. 10 at home against Tulsa.

Lovelady, one of four returning double-figure scorers for the Redhawks, started at the point.

"I was pleased with the job Ashley did running a position she doesn't normally play," Ishee said.

Senior center Missy Whitney, Southeast's No. 2 scorer last year and the preseason OVC player of the year, led the Redhawks with 11 points.

"I think we competed for the most part," Whitney said. "But we still have a lot of work to do."

Junior guard Sonya Daugherty, the Redhawks' top scorer a year ago, added 10 points.

Junior forward Rachel Blunt chipped in eight points.

Southeast's six newcomers combined for 25 points, led by junior college transfer guard Tierra Johnson with nine. She hit 3-of-4 3-pointers.

Junior college transfer forward Crysta Glenn added six points and tied with Whitney and Lovelady for team-high rebounding honors with five.

"I thought the new players showed a lot of promise," Ishee said.

The Redhawks used their trademark stingy defense to break open Thursday's contest early.

Southeast scored the game's first eight points, led 14-1 and later opened up a 22-3 advantage midway through the first half.

It was 31-7 late in the period and 35-15 at halftime.

Ishee used plenty of combinations in the second half, which saw the Redhawks outscore the Senators just 28-26, although the visitors never got closer than 13 points.

The Senators shot 26.8 percent for the game (11-of-41), including 15.4 percent in the first half (4-of-26).

"You'll take that every night," said Ishee of the visitors' shooting percentage.

On the negative side, the Redhawks were outrebounded 34-32.

Southeast was among the nation's better rebounding teams last year, but that was largely due to national rebounding leader Lachelle Lyles -- the one starter the Redhawks lost.

"That's a big concern," Ishee said of Southeast's rebounding.

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