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Southeast claws out victory
The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team picked up its second win of the season over Tennessee Tech in familiar fashion Saturday night.
Just as in the earlier meeting on the road, the Redhawks pulled away late for a 61-55 victory at the Show Me Center.
The Ohio Valley Conference game featured seven lead changes and two ties before Southeast went ahead for good with less than 12 minutes left.
Southeast led by 13 points before Tech hit three 3-pointers in the final 16 seconds.
"Tech has always been a tough team since I've been here," senior guard Tarina Nixon said. "They battle until the end of the game. That's what they did tonight."
The Redhawks pulled away from a tie midway through the second half to prevail 56-41 on Jan. 3 in Cookeville, Tenn.
"This one felt a little bit tougher," senior forward Rachel Blunt said. "It was push and pull all night."
The Redhawks won for the second straight time and the seventh time in their last nine games.
Southeast (11-10, 7-4) moved into a tie for fifth place in the 10-team OVC. The Redhawks are just one game out of third place.
"It's a huge win for us. It's the first time we've been over .500 since November," said Southeast coach John Ishee, whose squad was 4-8 at one point this season.
Tech (4-18, 2-9) remained in eighth place. The Eagles suffered their fifth consecutive loss.
"That 4-17 is out the window when you're behind with 12 minutes left," Ishee said. "We get their best shot every time we play them."
Nixon scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds to tie senior forward Crysta Glenn for the team lead on the boards.
Nixon also held Meagan Lyons, Tech's talented senior guard, to just two points.
"Tarina did a great defensive job on a very good player," Ishee said. "Tarina is one of the top defensive players in the conference."
Sophomore guard Tore Fite continued her recent strong play off the bench with 14 points. She hit 2 of 3 3-pointers and all six of her free throws.
Fite led Southeast in the first half with six points as the Redhawks trailed 27-25 at the break.
"I thought Tore's offense in the first half was big, and Rochelle Ikeni gave us a boost in the first half," Ishee said.
Ikeni, a sophomore forward, had two points and two rebounds in five first-half minutes off the bench.
Senior wing Sonya Daugherty scored 13 points. Blunt added nine points and three steals.
Nixon scored 10 second-half points, while Daugherty had nine and Fite eight in the period.
That trio combined for all but nine of Southeast's second-half points as the Redhawks outscored Tech 36-28 in the period.
"I can't say enough about the clutch play of Sonya and Tarina down the stretch," Ishee said. "And Rachel Blunt's leadership throughout the entire game was a big factor for us."
The Eagles matched their biggest advantage of the game at 33-29 early in the second half.
Southeast went back on top 39-38 on a 17-foot jumper by Blunt with 11 minutes, 31 seconds left.
The Redhawks never lost the lead, but they couldn't shake Tech until they opened up the game's first double-figure margin with just over two minutes left.
Southeast's largest advantage was 59-46 with 20 seconds remaining.
"They've played everybody close in the conference," Blunt said. "We expected a really tough game."
Southeast suffered a blow late in the contest when sophomore wing Lauren Sharpe suffered a rib injury.
The Redhawks take a break from OVC play Wednesday night when NAIA Harris-Stowe comes to town.