Pittman hinders Redhawks in OVC race

Friday, January 16, 2009
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State's Sonya Daugherty tries to get a shot around Morehead State's Brittany Pittman during the first half Thursday at the Show Me Center. Daugherty scored her 1,000th career point in the game.

The home-court struggles for the Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team continued Thursday night.

Brittany Pittman was largely responsible.

Pittman, Morehead State's junior center, had a monster game as the Eagles never trailed in beating the Redhawks 74-68.

The 6-foot-3 Pittman scored a career-high 22 points while grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking five shots.

Pittman, who leads the nation with 113 blocks, said the performance was the best of her career to date.

FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Southeast Missouri State's Crysta Glenn looks to shoot as Morehead State's Brittany Pittman defends during the first half Thursday at the Show Me Center. Morehead State won 74-68.

"I did well offensive and defensively," said Pittman, who entered with averages of 9.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and six blocks per game.

Pittman set the Ohio Valley Conference single-season record for blocks last year with 123, and broke the OVC career mark Thursday. She now has 236 rejections in just her second season in the league.

"She's really good," Southeast senior forward Crysta Glenn said. "I noticed a big difference from last year offensively and defensively."

Southeast, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, fell to 7-9 overall and 3-3 in the OVC.

The Redhawks are 1-3 in OVC home games this season and just 8-6 in their last 14 conference contests at the Show Me Center.

Contrast that to Southeast's 15 straight OVC road wins dating back to the 2006-07 season, which is the nation's second-longest active conference road winning streak.

"I don't have an answer for that," Glenn said when asked why the Redhawks perform much better on the road than at home. "We try to give the same effort ... but we do play better on the road."

Said senior point guard Tarina Nixon: "I just think we get home, we get comfortable. You know on the road it will be harder."

Southeast coach John Ishee was as noticeably upset following the game as he has been after any contest this season.

Ishee questioned the Redhawks' toughness after MSU (11-8, 5-2) shot 47.5 from the field and repeatedly beat Southeast off the dribble.

"They're a very good team. When you don't guard the basketball and let them straight line dribble, they're really good," said Ishee, visibly irritated. "We lost the game in the first four minutes.

"They punched us in the nose and we didn't do anything about it until 10 minutes into the second half."

Senior wing Sonya Daugherty led the Redhawks with 20 points as she became the 15th player in program history to record 1,000 or more career points.

Glenn had a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds as she held her own against Pittman despite giving up 5 inches.

"We wanted the same thing," said the 5-10 Glenn of her battle inside with Pittman.

Nixon added 16 points for Southeast, while junior guard Tiffany Hamilton contributed 20 points for the Eagles.

MSU used a 16-1 run to go ahead 24-9, and Southeast faced an uphill climb the rest of the evening.

The Eagles expanded a 38-32 halftime lead to 50-36 before Southeast made it 52-46 midway through the period.

MSU pulled away to its biggest advantage, 64-48, with under 6 minutes remaining.

Southeast closed to 69-65 with 48 seconds left but got no closer.

"Defense is pretty much our focus in every game," Glenn said. "Our defense didn't get it done tonight."

The Redhawks close out a three-game homestand Saturday against Eastern Kentucky.

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