Fite provides spark off bench with 14 points
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Southeast Missouri State women's basketball coach John Ishee compares sophomore Tore Fite to former Detroit Pistons guard Vinny Johnson, who was known as "The Microwave" for his ability to heat up in a hurry.
Fite was hot Saturday night with 14 points, missing just one shot while tying for the team-high in scoring in the Redhawks' 61-55 victory against Tennessee Tech.
She hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the second half that pushed Southeast from behind into a 37-33 lead.
The Redhawks needed that boost after trailing at halftime against a four-win team that they beat by 15 points in Cookeville, Tenn., earlier in January.
"I really wasn't conscious of what was going on," Fite said of her mini-rally. "We were just playing and it went in and I saw the net pop up and the fans stood up.
"I just played hard and took what the defense gave me, did the things I had practiced and tried not to step out of my range or do things I don't normally do."
She finished with three field goals in four attempts, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range to account for all of Southeast's treys, and she was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. Fite is among the team's top 3-point shooters in percentage with 12 in 32 attempts (37.5 percent).
Fite, who was just two points off her season high of 16 against Providence on Dec. 20, lifted her average in conference play from 5.8 to 7.0 points per game Saturday. Southeast is 5-2 in that seven-game span and on Saturday climbed over the .500 mark for the first time since early December.
As the Redhawks have come on, so has Fite.
She missed the first portion of the season due to academic issues. Ishee said Fite had a GPA over 3.0 in her first semester at Southeast, but a death in the family last year "really kind of knocked her for a loop."
She also missed a road trip that included the first meeting with Tennessee Tech for violating a team rule.
"She's growing up," Ishee said, "but she's been the kind of kid you really have to keep her on the edge like you're going to throw her off the cliff, but she's coming on.
"She's really set a positive attitude. She's got just a ton of ability. She can make plays with the ball that players that play with her can't. She's got all the tools to be a big-time player."
Fite -- who sports a star tattoo on the front of her left shoulder as part prophecy and because "my dad always told me, 'You're a star. You're going to be a star'" -- said the experiences of earlier this season have made her appreciate basketball more.
"I learned from it," she said, "and it gave me a whole new attitude. I appreciate the opportunity to play more, and I play harder and I stay hungry and go hard in practice.
"I learned from it and it made me a better person."