Southeast exhibits talent, routs Christian Brothers

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

With 11 new players, Southeast Missouri State University women's basketball coach B.J. Smith knows his team will likely be a work in progress for some time.

But Smith believes Southeast will ultimately be quite good -- and the squad did appear to show plenty of potential during Monday night's exhibition opener.

Southeast had little trouble rolling past Division II Christian Brothers University, posting a 75-40 victory in front of about 300 fans at the Show Me Center.

"We have a lot to work on, but we showed glimpses," Smith said. "We're going to be good. We just have to be patient, and coaches aren't. But we have so many new players.

"Overall, I was happy. I wish we could have held our effort a little better in the second half, but it's a start."

Southeast's full-court pressure defense overwhelmed CBU from the start, harassing the visitors from Memphis, Tenn. -- who went 23-7 last year -- into numerous shot clock violations and forced shots, particularly in the first half.

"Two week ago we were horrible defensively. Now at least we're average," Smith said with a smile. "But I was pleased with our defense, especially in the first half."

In falling behind 46-19 at halftime, CBU shot just 31.8 percent and committed 12 turnovers. The Bucs finished the game shooting 25.5 percent (12 of 47) and had 18 turnovers.

"We've been trying to get good on defense," senior forward/center Chandra Brown said. "We've been working hard in practice."

Brown, Southeast's only returning starter and one of just four returning players, scored all 15 of her points in the first half. She did not miss a shot, connecting on all six of her field-goal attempts and all three of her free throws.

Also scoring 15 points was junior center Tatiana Conceicao, the jewel of Southeast's large recruiting class.

A junior college All-American last year, Conceicao showed a powerful presence close to the basket, although she hit just four of 14 shots. Fouled often, she made seven of eight free throws, and also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

"She needs to finish better, but she's going to be a very good player for us," Smith said.

Conceicao appeared to suffer a concussion with 5:37 remaining in the game as she was knocked to the floor and stayed down for several minutes. She appeared groggy as she was helped to the bench.

"She got hit in the head, but hopefully she'll be fine," Smith said. "She's obviously a very important player for us."

Two more junior college transfers, guard Katrisha Dunn and forward Natalie Purcell, added nine and eight points, respectively. Dunn hit three of four 3-pointers while Purcell connected on two of five 3-pointers.

Senior guard Brandi Russia, a returning player, contributed seven points. Junior point guard Tiffanne Ryan, also a returnee, had four assists, as did junior college transfer point guard Wanika Owsley. The final returnee, senior forward Miah Shelford, grabbed seven rebounds.

All 15 players saw action, with 12 scoring.

"We played good the first half, but we kind of slacked off the second half," Brown said.

Southeast shot 43.9 percent (25 of 57), including 50 percent from 3-point range (nine of 18). Southeast had 17 turnovers, but just six in the first half.

Southeast plays its final exhibition game Friday night, hosting Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

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