Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team faces Arkansas State

Monday, November 19, 2012
Former Notre Dame Regional High School standout Jane Morrill shoots against Southeast Missouri State during the Redhawks’ win against Arkansas State last year. Morrill is a second-team all-Sun Belt Conference preseason selection this season. (Kristin Eberts)

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team will look to get back on a winning track today.

A local high school graduate will try to extend the Redhawks' losing streak while snapping her own squad's skid.

Southeast (1-2) continues a stretch of six games away from the Show Me Center when the Redhawks visit Arkansas State (0-3) for a 7:05 p.m. tipoff in Jonesboro, Ark.

The Redhawks won their season opener, 78-66 over Wright State at home, before suffering two road losses last week, 69-64 at Missouri-Kansas City and 68-58 at 25th-ranked Kansas.

"It's going to be another tough one," Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler said. "Arkansas State will be a very challenging opponent on their home court."

Missourian file (Arkansas State’s Jane Morrill, a former standout at Notre Dame Regional High School, handles the ball against Southeast Missouri State during last year’s game at the Show Me Center. The Rehdhawks won 56-52.)

ASU is led by 6-foot-1 junior Jane Morrill, a former Notre Dame Regional High School standout who is from Scott City.

Morrill, a forward, had a big sophomore season last year, earning second-team all-Sun Belt Conference honors after leading the Red Wolves in scoring and rebounding with averages of 16.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. She led the league in free-throw shooting at 87.7 percent.

That came after a solid freshman season that saw Morrill average 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds off the bench.

Morrill is a second-team all-Sun Belt preseason selection, and ASU is picked to finish second in the six-team West Division.

She is again ASU's top scorer through three games, averaging 13 points to go along with 7.3 boards, although her efforts haven't been enough to help the Red Wolves win against a demanding schedule.

ASU has suffered losses at Toledo 56-34 and Tennessee-Martin 72-62, and at home 60-51 against Wichita State.

"She's a really good player. I think she'll be one of the best big girls we see all year," Margenthaler said about Morrill. "They've played some tough opponents so far, but they're picked high in their league. They have a good team."

The Red Wolves went 12-18 overall and 6-10 in the Sun Belt last year. One of their losses was at Southeast. The Redhawks notched their first win of the season, 56-52, after six straight defeats. It was the first collegiate coaching victory for Margenthaler.

"They're going to remember last year, when we got them at home," Margenthaler said.

Morrill scored a game-high 19 points in that contest, but her former Notre Dame teammate and good friend, Allyson Bradshaw, also had a strong performance for the Redhawks. Bradshaw scored 13 points off the bench.

Bradshaw, who teamed with Morrill to lead the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the 2009-10 Class 4 state tournament, has started Southeast's first three games this year. The sophomore guard leads the Redhawks with a 16-point scoring average and is shooting 62.5 percent from 3-point range (10 of 16). She has hit 9 of 11 from beyond the arc in her past two games.

"She's playing with a lot of confidence," Margenthaler said about Bradshaw.

Margenthaler believes the rest of the team is gaining that same confidence, which he saw in Wednesday's highly competitive loss at Kansas. He hopes to see a carry-over effect today.

"Our team is learning how to win, and I thought we gave Kansas everything we had. We can take a lot of positives from the game," Margenthaler said. "I really believe for the first time since I've been here that this team believes they are a good team and that we can have a very good year."

Southeast, following today's game, returns to Cape Girardeau before heading to Houston, Texas, for a tournament that will have the Redhawks playing host Houston on Friday and Texas-Pan American on Saturday.

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