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Southeast snaps four-game slide

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ELIZABETH DODD ~ edodd@semissourian.com
Southeast senior Rachel Blunt drives against Bethel College's Joanna Ortiz during Wednesday's game.
A sluggish first half gave way to a dominant second half.

The result was an emphatic end to Southeast Missouri State's four-game losing streak.

Southeast pulled away from a six-point halftime lead to roll past visiting Bethel (Tenn.) College 73-54 on Wednesday night.

"It was great to get a win," senior point guard Tarina Nixon said. "Any win is a good win. We'll take it and try to learn from it."

The Redhawks improved to 4-4, while Bethel -- ranked 23rd nationally in NAIA -- is 8-3.

ELIZABETH DODD ~ edodd@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State's Crysta Glenn, left, fights for the rebound against Bethel's Teena Carter in first half at the Show Me Center Wednesday.
"The best thing of it, we won," Southeast coach John Ishee said. "That's what the doctor ordered. We needed it for confidence.

"That we were able to get control and get a lot of people minutes, that was the next-best thing."

Southeast led 28-22 at halftime after shooting just 23.5 percent from the field.

The Redhawks began the second half with a 20-2 run in less than six minutes to turn the game into a blowout.

"Coming onto the court after halftime, I told them [her teammates] we needed to jump ahead, get them down and keep them down," Nixon said.

ELIZABETH DOD ~ edodd@semissourian.com
Southeast's Lesley Adams defends Bethel College's Nina Djokovic during Wednesday's game.
Southeast, which led by at least 18 points over the final 16 minutes of the contest, shot 53.6 percent in the second half.

The Redhawks held the Wildcats to 27.8-percent shooting in the game, forced 23 turnovers and held a 50-38 rebounding advantage.

"We got after them the second half," Ishee said. "We moved the ball better and shared the ball better offensively."

Nixon continued her offensive surge with a game-high 22 points, hitting 6 of 8 field-goal attempts -- including 2 of 3 from 3-point range -- and all eight of her free throws.

Nixon is averaging just more than 20 points in her last four games.

"Tarina had a great game," Ishee said.

The Redhawks received a lift from junior college transfer post player Lesley Adams, who had by far the best performance of her young Southeast career.

Adams, making her second straight start, scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

"Lesley was a bright spot," Ishee said.

The 6-foot-2 Adams had totaled three points and 11 rebounds the entire season before Wednesday.

"I needed that so I can get to where I need to be," said Adams, a St. Louis native who played the past two seasons at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo. "It was a good step for me, for my confidence.

"We have seven seniors, but at some point I know I'll have to step up."

Ishee had hoped that Adams and fellow juco transfer Trevonna Cannon could help fill the void left by the graduation of star post player Missy Whitney.

Both have been slow to come around, but lately have shown signs of progress. Cannon had eight points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's loss to Tennessee State.

"It usually takes a while to adjust to this level of competition," Ishee said. "Lesley was a bright spot tonight and Trevonna was a bright spot Saturday.

"Now if we can get them both going at the same time."

Wednesday also marked the return -- although briefly -- of senior wing Sonya Daugherty, one of Southeast's top scorers the last three seasons.

Daugherty, who missed the past two games with a knee injury, played three minutes in the second half.

Ishee said Daugherty was cleared by the Southeast medical staff to play "anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes."

Ishee said now it's a matter of continuing to strengthen the knee and continue regaining range of motion in it.

"We just hope to keep getting her more and more minutes every game," Ishee said.

Wednesday's contest ended a stretch that saw Southeast play seven of its first eight games at home.

The Redhawks, who don't play at home again until Jan. 10, visit Conference USA preseason favorite Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

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The marketing department might want to invest in a big cover for the sections of empty seats behind the baskets. They could paint faces on it so in the pictures it looks like there are people at the game.

-- Posted by Duh... on Thu, Dec 11, 2008, at 12:00 PM

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