Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team clamps defense on TSU

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Southeast held its visitors to 22.4 percent shooting in a 50-39 win

By MARTY MISHOW

Southeast Missourian

Strong defense has helped the offensively challenged Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team stay competitive in a lot of games this season.

The Redhawks stepped up their defense several notches Saturday to roll past visiting Tennessee State 50-39.

"The coaches did a great job on the scouting report," Southeast senior point guard Bianca Beck said. "We knew how to guard them."

The Redhawks allowed season lows for points and field-goal percentage (22.4) to win for the second time in their last three games. TSU had been averaging 70.1 points per contest and 76.7 points in Ohio Valley Conference play.

"How about that defense. Our defense was probably the best it has been all year long," said first-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler, whose squad posted its second consecutive home victory. "We beat a good basketball team that can score a lot of points. This team scored 105 points against a great Tennessee-Martin team.

"What a great team win that was tonight, a really important win. They played with togetherness and heart. To see their joy, I couldn't be happier for them."

Southeast (6-18, 3-8) solidified its hold on ninth place in the 11-team OVC. The top eight finishers qualify for the OVC tournament.

Southeast is eighth for tournament purposes because third-place SIU Edwardsville is ineligible for the event during its first year as a conference member.

And the Redhawks are now just one-half game behind eighth-place TSU (8-16, 4-8). They have five OVC contests remaining.

"It was a must win to get into the conference tournament," Beck said. "We needed this and a couple more."

Beck was aggressive early, scoring seven points in the first nine minutes to surpass her season average.

"For our team to win, I need to be more aggressive," said Beck, who entered play averaging 6.4 points. "If more people are paying attention to me, it gets my teammates open."

Beck led Southeast with 12 points, one shy of her career high. She added six rebounds, three assists and three steals in a game-high 38 minutes.

"She logged a lot of minutes. She's our workhorse, our leader," Margenthaler said.

Southeast junior forward Brittany Harriel grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds -- 11 in the first half. She scored eight points, dished out two assists and blocked two shots.

"I knew they were going to be physical. I had to box out," said Harriel, Southeast's leading rebounder with a 6.7 average entering the contest. "I was told before the game my rebounding stats were a little low."

Asked if her coaches had told her that, a smiling Harriel said: "My father did."

Southeast got a big lift off the bench from sophomore forward Patricia Mack, who scored eight points to surpass her season average by five. She also had six rebounds and two blocks.

"She was really locked in. I think she was the X-factor," Margenthaler said.

Junior center Courtney Shiffer added eight points, nine rebounds and two steals for the Redhawks.

Southeast got seven points off the bench from freshman guard Allyson Bradshaw, a Notre Dame Regional High School graduate. Junior forward Bailie Roberts also had seven points.

"At shoot around, we were very intense. It carried over to the game," Mack said.

Southeast outrebounded TSU 50-44, but the Redhawks only shot 29.5 percent from the field.

"To shoot 29 percent and win by 11 is very impressive," Margenthaler said.

The Redhawks trailed 15-11 midway through the first half. They then hit TSU with a 17-2 burst to go ahead 28-17. The Tigers went nearly nine minutes with two points during the run.

Bradshaw had five points in the run, while Harriel and Mack added four each.

Southeast led 28-21 at halftime and built a 15-point advantage in the second half. TSU got within seven points late, but the Redhawks iced the victory from the free-throw line.

The Redhawks are back in action Saturday, visiting Murray State for a 5:15 p.m. tipoff.

Southeast Missouri State's Yelena Rosado drives against Tennessee State's Chelsea Hudson during the second half Saturday at the Show Me Center.

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