Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team overtakes ASU in final seconds

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team led only once all game Monday night.

It couldn't have come at a better time.

Junior college transfer point guard Jordan Hunter's layup with four seconds left lifted the Redhawks to an amazing 52-51 win at Arkansas State.

The victory, in Jonesboro, Ark., broke Southeast's 23-game nonconference road losing streak and matched last season's road win total of one.

Southeast, which improved to 2-2 by breaking a two-game losing streak, also won for the first time in three years when trailing at halftime.

"It feels great. I'm really proud of everybody. It was a great team effort," second-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler said. "I really feel good for the players, especially that senior class. They've been through so much and now it's great to see them enjoy some early success."

Things looked bleak for Southeast most of the night as the Red Wolves threatened to blow the Redhawks out of the Convocation Center.

ASU (0-4), picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference West Division, built an early 16-6 lead. The Red Wolves were ahead 28-12 late in the first half and 30-16 at the break.

"They did an outstanding job of being physical and pressuring us," Margenthaler said of the Redhawks' first-half struggles that saw them shoot 5 of 26 from the field and miss all eight of their 3-point attempts.

Southeast got its offense going in the second half but the Red Wolves still seemed to be in control as they led 45-33 with under eight minutes remaining.

But a 12-0 Southeast run turned things completely around.

Freshman guard Kara Wright's 3-pointer began Southeast's burst. Sophomore guard Allyson Bradshaw from Notre Dame Regional High School followed with a driving basket.

Senior forward Brittany Harriel then scored seven straight points, hitting a 3-pointer, a drive and a 15-footer to forge a 45-45 deadlock with just over four minutes left. It was just the game's second tie, the other being at 2-2.

ASU scored the next four points to go back on top 49-45 but Southeast stayed strong.

The Redhawks, trailing 51-47, got a 3-pointer from junior forward Patricia Mack with 58 seconds left to cut the deficit to 51-50.

Mack scored a career-high 17 points off the bench and grabbed 10 rebounds for her fourth career double-double while playing a team-high 32 minutes. She scored 13 second-half points.

Harriel added 13 points, nine in the final half.

"Tricia and Brittany just went off and had an unbelievable second half," Margenthaler said. "She [Mack] just felt it in the second half, she was playing with such a high level of confidence."

Following Mack's 3-pointer, ASU missed a shot and Southeast controlled the rebound with under 30 seconds to play.

Margenthaler called a timeout with 11 seconds left. He said the plan was for Hunter to either get to the basket or find Mack down low.

"It's a situational play we run. We want Jordan to either turn the corner on a handoff or we have a stagger screen for Tricia on the low block," Margenthaler said. "Jordan got the handoff from Tricia and turned the corner right away. She had a wide-open layup and put it in. Jordan did a great job getting to the rim and making the basket."

Southeast had a foul to give and used it near midcourt, leaving just four-tenths of a second on the clock. ASU's desperation heave fell short and the Redhawks had their first nonconference road win since Nov. 17, 2007 at Central Arkansas.

"The thing I loved, being down 14 and really doing nothing offensively the first half, we really kept our composure," Margenthaler said. "Arkansas State is a very good team that has played a really tough schedule."

Wright added seven points off the bench while Hunter dished out six assists.

Southeast shot 62.5 percent in the second half after shooting 19.2 percent in the first half. The Redhawks held ASU to 27.6-percent second-half shooting as they outscored the Red Wolves 36-21.

"We had a great second half," Margenthaler said

ASU junior forward Jane Morrill, a Notre Dame Regional High School graduate and a second-team all-Sun Belt performer last year, poured in 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. She hit 9 of 15 shots, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range.

"She is a special player, very talented," Margenthaler said.

Southeast continues a stretch of six games away from the Show Me Center this weekend during a tournament in Houston, Texas. The Redhawks play host Houston at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Texas-Pan American at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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