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SE women coming up big in clutch

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team is starting to make a habit of comeback victories.

And junior college transfer point guard Jordan Hunter is starting to make a habit of game-winning shots.

Hunter, for the second time in less than a week, scored in the closing seconds to lift the Redhawks to a dramatic triumph.

Hunter's driving layup along the baseline with six seconds left Saturday gave Southeast a 55-54 win over Texas-Pan American on the final day of the David Jones Classic in Houston, Texas.

Southeast (3-3) began the four-team event Friday with a 61-44 loss to tournament host Houston.

"It's a big win for us, to get out of here with a split," said second-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler, whose squad won just seven games last season. "I told our team, we've played one home game and we've faced some really good competition. To be 3-3 at this point is pretty darn good."

Southeast, playing Saturday without senior forward Brittany Harriel -- she suffered a fractured left ring finger midway through the first half of Friday's game -- went scoreless for more than seven minutes at the outset as UTPA built a 7-0 lead.

The Redhawks trailed 35-25 at halftime and 37-25 early in the second half.

"We really got off to a slow start," Margenthaler said. "Really, it was an ugly game by both teams."

Southeast steadily chipped away at the deficit and took its first lead at 52-51 when freshman guard Olivia Hackmann hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1 minute, 15 seconds remaining.

But the Redhawks found themselves behind 54-53 after UTPA (2-5) made 1 of 2 from the line with 24 seconds left.

Margenthaler said Southeast set up a similar play to the one that resulted in Hunter's layup with four seconds left Monday, giving the Redhawks a 52-51 win at Arkansas State after they trailed by 14 at halftime.

Hunter again found an opening and her shot with six seconds left put Southeast ahead. The Broncs missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"It was exactly the same play [as at Arkansas State]," Margenthaler said. "They did a better job defending it. Jordan was strong with the jump stop and going up.

"I feel good with Jordan getting to the rim. A lot of teams don't want to foul you in that situation. I'm really happy for her. Her game is starting to grow as well."

Southeast was 0-17 last year when trailing at halftime but already has notched two such victories this season.

"Again, I give our kids so much credit. They just kept on fighting. They don't give up," Margenthaler said. "We're making big plays and big shots down the stretch, which is what it takes to win these kind of games."

Junior forward Patricia Mack led Southeast offensively with 11 points. Hunter and Hackmann both added 10.

Margenthaler credited Southeast's bench for playing a huge role in the comeback. Hackmann, who had scored just two points all season in limited action, provided a big lift while playing 22 minutes.

"To have her perform like that without playing a lot in the first five games is outstanding," Margenthaler said.

Freshman forward Connor King, a Jackson High School graduate, grabbed 10 rebounds, the most of her young Southeast career. She added four points while playing 23 minutes.

The Redhawks outrebounded the Broncs 48-39 as senior forward Courtney Shiffer added nine rebounds for Southeast.

Margenthaler knew Houston would be a tough opponent despite its 0-4 record entering the contest. The Cougars lost their first four games by a total of 21 points, their largest margin of defeat being nine points.

Southeast was hurt by a season-high 22 turnovers and Houston's 19 offensive rebounds, part of a 40-30 advantage on the boards for the Cougars.

Houston Hunter's layup with four seconds left Monday, giving the Redhawks a 52-51 win at Arkansas State after they trailed by 14 at halftime.

Hunter again found an opening and her shot with six seconds left put Southeast ahead. The Broncs missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"It was exactly the same play [as at Arkansas State]," Margenthaler said. "They did a better job defending it. Jordan was strong with the jump stop and going up.

"I feel good with Jordan getting to the rim. A lot of teams don't want to foul you in that situation. I'm really happy for her. Her game is starting to grow as well."

Southeast was 0-17 last year when trailing at halftime but already has notched two such victories this season.

"Again, I give our kids so much credit. They just kept on fighting. They don't give up," Margenthaler said. "We're making big plays and big shots down the stretch, which is what it takes to win these kind of games."

Junior forward Patricia Mack led Southeast offensively with 11 points. Hunter and Hackmann both added 10.

Margenthaler credited Southeast's bench for playing a huge role in the comeback. Hackmann, who had scored just two points all season in limited action, provided a big lift while playing 22 minutes.

"To have her perform like that without playing a lot in the first five games is outstanding," Margenthaler said.

Freshman forward Connor King, a Jackson High School graduate, grabbed 10 rebounds, the most of her young Southeast career. She added four points while playing 23 minutes.

The Redhawks outrebounded the Broncs 48-39 as senior forward Courtney Shiffer added nine rebounds for Southeast.

Margenthaler knew Houston would be a tough opponent despite its 0-4 record entering the contest. The Cougars lost their first four games by a total of 21 points, their largest margin of defeat being nine points.

Southeast was hurt by a season-high 22 turnovers and Houston's 19 offensive rebounds, part of a 40-30 advantage on the boards for the Cougars.

Houston outscored Southeast 28-13 in points off turnovers and had a 13-6 edge in second-chance points.

"Turnovers and rebounding were keys to the game," Margenthaler said.

The Redhawks led just once, at 3-2. Houston closed the first half on a 10-0 run to carry a 31-19 advantage into the break.

Southeast fell behind 34-19 but hung tough most of the second half. The Redhawks cut the deficit to 47-42 with just under eight minutes left but then went scoreless for nearly seven minutes.

The Cougars put the game away with a 13-0 burst that broke things wide open at 59-42.

Senior forward Bailey Roberts led Southeast with a season-high 17 points. She hit 7 of 14 field-goal attempts.

Hunter scored 10 points and dished out six assists.

Senior guard Porsche Landry paced the Cougars with 19 points.

Noteworthy

* Southeast will hold a free youth clinic following its Dec. 1 home game against Illinois-Chicago, which begins at 2 p.m. Youngsters attending the contest will receive instruction from Southeast coaches and players on basketball fundamentals, including ballhandling, shooting, passing and defense.


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