Slow start buries Southeast women

Friday, December 4, 2009

Southeast lost its conference opener 76-63 at Austin Peay

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- Take away Thursday's first nine minutes and the Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team might have been in business.

But that opening time frame was all it took for host Austin Peay to build an 18-point lead in the Ohio Valley Conference opener for both squads.

Southeast spent the rest of the night playing catch up and never could as the young Redhawks suffered their fourth straight loss, 76-63.

The Redhawks fell to 2-4 while the defending OVC tournament champion Govs (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak.

"That slow start killed us," junior wing Lauren Sharpe said.

Southeast held one lead all night, 4-2. An 8-0 run put the Govs up 10-4 and they never looked back.

Austin Peay hit five of its six 3-pointers in the first nine minutes and took advantage of seven Southeast turnovers to build a 26-8 lead.

"I told the team after the game that the first five minutes is when it was lost," Southeast coach John Ishee said. "They shot it extremely well, but you let a shooter make one and they start hitting."

The Redhawks, down 40-26 at halftime, scored the first five points of the final period to pull within 40-31.

But the Govs answered with the next seven points to restore their advantage to 47-31.

Southeast made one final push, cutting the deficit to 10 three times in the final three minutes. But the Redhawks got no closer.

"If we would have come out like that, it would have been a different game," Sharpe said.

Sharpe paced Southeast with a season-high 16 points, 14 in the final period as she led the belated comeback with a trio of 3-pointers.

Freshman forward Bailie Roberts added 11 points, eight during the second half. She also had six rebounds and three assists.

Senior center Lesley Adams just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, the latter figure tying her career high.

"I was extremely proud of our effort," Ishee said. "We played extremely hard and smart in the last eight minutes.

"But you can't play in parts. You have to play for 40 minutes."

Junior guard Brooke Faulkner, who had hit three 3-pointers all season and was averaging 4.6 points, buried her first four shots from beyond the arc Thursday, all in the opening nine minutes to help the Govs start fast.

Faulkner scored all of her team-high 14 points in the first half.

"We had trouble getting out on her," Sharpe said.

Junior wing Ashley Herring and senior forward Nicole Jamen, Austin Peay's top two players, added 13 points apiece. All 13 of Jamen's points came in the second half. Herring had nine second-half points.

Southeast, averaging nearly 23 turnovers per game, had 24 on Thursday, including 16 in the first half.

"You're not going to win on the road with 24 turnovers," Ishee said.

Southeast's 13-player roster includes nine freshmen, and Ishee said inexperience is part of the problem with turnovers.

"But we can't use that as an excuse," Sharpe said. "We just have to take care of the ball better."

After facing the team picked to finish third in the OVC, Southeast -- slotted seventh -- concludes its two-game conference-opening road trip Saturday at preseason No. 3 Tennessee State (2-4).

The Tigers began their conference schedule with a 70-57 home loss to Eastern Illinois.

"I think we really need to get a split [on the trip]," Sharpe said. "We just need to go out a little tougher."

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