Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team' roster features few new faces

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Most people expect the Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team to finish among the Ohio Valley Conference's worst squads for the third consecutive season.

First-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler isn't buying it.

"We're building a program. It's going to take some time," Margenthaler said Tuesday during the Redhawks' media day. "Everybody has bought in to what we're trying to do. We don't talk about wins and losses. We talk about the process.

"If we take care of little things, good things will happen. I don't know when that will happen, but we plan on it happening this year."

Margenthaler took over a floundering program, but it hasn't been long since the Redhawks were an OVC power under John Ishee, whose contract wasn't renewed after five years. The last two years of Ishee's tenure were riddled by injuries and tied the school record for losses in a season.

Southeast went 8-21 overall and a ninth-place 4-14 in the 10-team OVC last season. That followed a 2009-10 campaign of 7-21 overall and a last-place 4-14 in the OVC.

But Southeast posted a three-year record of 62-32 from 2006 through 2009. It won two OVC regular-season titles and earned an NCAA tournament berth.

That type of success likely won't come this year, but the Redhawks have plenty of experience to make a move forward. They return nine players, including four who started at least 20 games and another who made 14 starts last season.

"With the players we have returning, our entire starting five, the players who were hurt last year, I do feel we have some pieces to be a solid team," said Margenthaler, whose squad opens the season Nov. 11 at North Carolina State. "I really do believe we can get it done this year and not down the road."

Junior forward Brittany Harriel averaged 8.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game to lead Southeast in both categories a year ago. She was second with 18 blocks.

Junior guard Katie Norman also averaged 8.9 points to tie Harriel. Norman ranked second in assists with 46 and steals with 31 while leading in 3-pointers made with 31.

Norman said she has been impressed with the Redhawks during their first week of practice, which started Oct. 2. She also likes the new coaching staff.

"I definitely think we're going to surprise some people," Norman said. "Our first week of practice has been great. I'm so thankful for coach Margenthaler and his staff."

Junior forward Bailie Roberts averaged 7.6 points per game and was Southeast's second-leading rebounder with a 4.2 average.

Senior guard Karley Evans averaged 6.2 points, followed by junior forward/center Courtney Shiffer (4.9 ppg), junior guard Shelah Fields (4.8 ppg), senior point guard Bianca Beck (3.9 ppg) and senior forward Amber Holmes (0.7 ppg).

Shiffer ranked among the OVC leaders in blocks with 36, seventh most for a single season in program history.

Beck, who has started at least 14 games every year since her freshman season, led the Redhawks in steals with 39.

Beck was voted a team captain, along with fellow guards Norman and Evans.

"Our guard play is going to be important with the offensive system we have in place," Margenthaler said. "With the motion offense we'll run, they have to communicate well on setting screens and setting up the hot shooters."

Sophomore forward Patricia Mack returns after playing in just two games before suffering a season-ending knee injury last year.

Mack, who received a medical redshirt and did not lose a year of eligibility, was among Southeast's most promising performers as a true freshman in 2009-10.

Also figuring to provide a boost is redshirt freshman forward Brooke Taylor, Southeast's top recruit last year who missed the entire season with an iron deficiency problem. Taylor, who now is healthy, has been impressive in practice.

"I feel good about having both of them back," Margenthaler said.

Others looking to contribute are freshmen guards Allyson Bradshaw and Yelena Rosado.

Margenthaler said Bradshaw, a graduate of Notre Dame Regional High School, should be able to earn early playing time because of her shooting ability.

"She's working extremely hard. She's a kid that really picks things up quickly, which is nice," Margenthaler said. "She can really shoot, really stretch the defense."

Rounding out the roster is redshirt freshman walk-on guard Anna Steffel.

Southeast struggled offensively last season, averaging just 51.4 points while shooting only 27.7 percent from 3-point range. The Redhawks hope to change that this year.

"Our goal is to be a tough, physical team that is built on a solid defensive foundation and competes for 40 minutes," Margenthaler said.

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