Morehead State buries Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team from long distance

Thursday, December 29, 2011
Southeast Missouri State's Karley Evans looks to pass around Morehead State defender Courtney Lumpkin during the first half Wednesday. (Kristin Eberts)

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team was on the verge of completing an impressive comeback several times Wednesday night.

Morehead State's prolific 3-point shooting wouldn't allow it.

The Eagles bombed in 12 3-pointers, including several crucial ones late, to hold off the host Redhawks 61-57 in both squads' Ohio Valley Conference opener.

"Not only did we hit 12 3s, but I would say six were very timely," said MSU coach Tom Hodges, whose team never trailed and improved to 4-9.

The Eagles nailed four in the final 4 minutes, 30 seconds, including three by senior guard Courtney Lumpkin. All four came after Southeast had pulled to within either one point or two points.

Southeast Missouri State's Bianca Beck handles the ball as Morehead State's Courtney Lumpkin defends during the first half Wednesday. (Kristin Eberts)

"Every time we cut it to two or one, it seemed like they would make a huge 3," said Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler, whose squad fell to 3-11.

Lumpkin had the biggest individual impact on the game. She scored 23 of her career-high 30 points in the second half. She was averaging 10.4 points per contest.

Lumpkin hit 6 of 10 3-pointers, including 5 of 8 in the final period. She had been shooting 19.4 percent (13 of 67) from beyond the arc.

"She's shooting 19 percent from 3 and makes six 3-pointers," Margenthaler said. "But she's a senior. ... I give her credit. She made them when they counted. We knew she was a streaky shooter. She was feeling it."

The Eagles were averaging eight 3-pointers per game but shooting just 28.7 percent. They made 12 of 32 (37.5 percent).

Southeast Missouri State's Allyson Bradshaw sinks a 3-pointer during the second half of a game against Morehead State on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011, at the Show Me Center. Southeast lost 61-57. (Kristin Eberts)

Southeast hit 2 of 10 (20 percent) from beyond the arc. The Redhawks were averaging less than four treys per contest while shooting 24 percent.

That negated a big free-throw shooting edge for Southeast, which attempted 20 more foul shots than MSU. The Redhawks made 19 of 30 compared to 5 of 10 for the Eagles.

"We got there 30 times. A coach's dream. That's what you want. Morehead got there 10 times," Margenthaler said. "A lot of things went our way, but the 3-point shooting beat us."

There were four first-half ties although Southeast never led. It was 31-23 at halftime, and the Redhawks fell behind 37-24 early in the second half before beginning their comeback.

"We haven't really put together a full game," junior forward Bailie Roberts said. "We just have to bring it for a whole 40 minutes and we'll compete with everybody we play.

"We're putting ourselves in a position to win. We have to expect every night we'll be in a position to win."

MSU never led by more than five points over the final six minutes, but the Redhawks could not catch up.

Southeast had its best chance to go ahead after cutting the deficit to 49-48 on two free throws by Roberts with just less than six minutes remaining. But the Redhawks failed to convert on two consecutive possessions.

"We've just got to learn how to convert and make smarter decisions with the ball," sophomore forward Patricia Mack said.

The Redhawks never again had the ball with an opportunity to take the lead, thanks to MSU's clutch 3-point shooting. The Eagles' final trey came from senior guard Linda Dixon with 34 seconds left to make it 61-56.

"Give their kids a ton of credit," Hodges said about the Redhawks. "Coach Margenthaler is doing a great job. He's got them playing hard. We were fortunate."

Roberts, Mack and senior guard Bianca Beck all scored 15 points to lead Southeast. Mack and Beck recorded career highs.

Mack, who missed most of last year with a knee injury, also grabbed 11 rebounds and had four steals in her best performance of the season.

"I thought Patricia gave us a great effort off the bench," Margenthaler said.

Southeast shot a season-high 40.9 percent from the field overall, while the Eagles shot 35.5 percent.

"A very disappointing loss," Margenthaler said. "We came out a little flat. I give our girls credit. We picked it up in the second half and played a lot better to give us a chance to win."

Southeast plays the second of three consecutive OVC home games to start its conference schedule Saturday when Murray State visits for a 1 p.m. New Year's Eve tipoff.

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