Shiffer leads Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team to win over Lindenwood

Sunday, December 4, 2011
Southeast Missouri State's Courtney Shiffer drives to the basket against Lindenwood's Caroline Bourlioux during the first half Saturday. (Fred Lynch)

Lindenwood University proved to be a very stubborn opponent.

But the Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team finally subdued the upset-minded Lions to notch its second victory of the season.

Southeast led for the final 36 minutes Saturday but never felt comfortable until late during a 66-56 win at the Show Me Center.

"We knew they were going to come out and give us a great game," Southeast junior center Courtney Shiffer said. "We really wanted to get this win. We stuck together."

The Redhawks (2-7) led the Lions (3-4), who are transitioning from NAIA to Division II, 33-28 at halftime.

Southeast Missouri State's Allyson Bradshaw drives against Lindenwood's Sarah Schnieders on Saturday. (Fred Lynch)

Southeast never was ahead by more than eight points until less than eight minutes remained. They finally opened their biggest advantage of 16 points in the final three minutes.

"I give Lindenwood credit. They came in with a lot of energy. I knew they would bring everything they had," said Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler, whose squad played its fifth game in eight days. "We've been through a grueling stretch. I knew this would be a dogfight.

"I'm very proud. We fought and battled. We did what we needed to do down the stretch."

A career performance by Shiffer and some clutch second-half shooting by senior guard Karley Evans were key factors in pulling through Southeast.

Shiffer had her first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Her previous high rebounding total had been eight last season. She added two blocks and two steals.

"I have more confidence this year. I'm playing more aggressive," said Shiffer, who helped Southeast win the rebounding battle 43-33. "After the last few teams we've played, it was nice to have a size advantage in the post."

Shiffer scored 10 points in the second half, hitting all eight of her free throws after the break to finish 9 of 10 from the line.

"She's got a motor that is just amazing. She brings it every single day," Margenthaler said about Shiffer. "What I like tonight, not only her rebounding, is she hit her free throws."

Evans, coming off a career-high 17 points during Tuesday's win over Arkansas State, started out missing three of her first four 3-pointers.

That didn't deter Evans, who Southeast counts on to provide long-range shooting.

Evans made three of her final four from beyond the arc to finish 4 of 8. She scored 15 points. The rest of the Redhawks were a combined 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

"I think my confidence is going up," Evans said. "Coach always tells us shooters we've just got to keep shooting."

Evans drilled two 3-pointers during an 8-0 run in a 60-second span that boosted Southeast's lead from 46-43 to 54-43 with a little more than seven minutes left. The margin never dipped under nine points.

"That gave us a comfortable lead, but we had to keep being aggressive because they weren't letting down," said Evans, who added three assists.

Senior point guard Bianca Beck scored 11 points for Southeast. She also had five assists and four steals.

Junior forwards Brittany Harriel and Bailie Roberts contributed eight points apiece to help Southeast reach a season-high point total.

Sophomore forward Patricia Mack grabbed seven rebounds and added five points off the bench for the Redhawks.

Margenthaler liked that Southeast hit its free throws and limited its turnovers.

The Redhawks made 20 of 25 from the line for 80 percent, including 14 of 16 in the second half for a sizzling 87.5 percent. They committed 13 turnovers.

"I was really proud of the way we shot our free throws down the stretch and the way we took care of the basketball," Margenthaler said.

Junior guard Morgan Harrington led Lindenwood with 16 points.

Southeast returns to action Saturday at Western Michigan.

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