Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team looks to build winning streak

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Redhawks seek back-to-back wins for first time under Margenthaler

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team has another chance to record its first two-game winning streak under coach Ty Margenthaler.

It won't be easy.

Southeast (5-5) is in Bowling Green, Ky., for today's 2 p.m. contest against tradition-rich Western Kentucky (7-2).

"It's going to be a big challenge for us," Margenthaler said. "We'll definitely have our hands full at their place."

The Redhawks are much improved after posting just seven victories last season during Margenthaler's first year with the program.

Southeast has matched its best 10-game start since the 2007-08 season. The Redhawks' five nonconference wins are their most since that 2007-08 campaign.

But the Redhawks' first two-game winning streak since the 2010-11 season has eluded them so far.

"That's something we talk about. It's a goal for us," said Margenthaler, whose squad has been off since beating Western Illinois 56-47 on Dec. 8. "We've had a lot of positives so far. We've done some things that this program hasn't done in a while. We're making progress."

The victory over Western Illinois improved the Redhawks' home record to 3-0 for the first time since 2008-09.

Today's contest marks Southeast's eighth game out of 11 away from Cape Girardeau, although the Redhawks play four out of their next five at home.

"We've played really well at home but not as well on the road," Margenthaler said. "That's another goal of ours, to start playing better on the road."

WKU, under the direction of first-year coach Michelle Clark-Heard -- a former WKU standout -- is off to its best start since the 2005-06 season. It took the Hilltoppers until Feb. 11 to reach seven wins last year.

The Hilltoppers were a nationally prominent program for years but have not been nearly as successful in recent seasons. They went 9-21 overall last year, including a 5-11 Sun Belt Conference mark, but appear to be considerably improved.

"They've had a great women's basketball history. It will be fun to play over there," Margenthaler said. "They're definitely on the rise again."

WKU, which features no seniors and just two juniors, has two dominant scorers in 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Alexis Govan and 6-foot sophomore forward Chastity Gooch.

Govan is averaging 18.6 points per game, while Gooch is averaging 15.3 points and 10.9 rebounds. No other WKU player is scoring more than 7.8 point a contest.

"They're a young basketball team but they're not playing like freshmen and sophomores," Margenthaler said. "They're very aggressive."

The Hilltoppers are 5-0 on the road, which includes double-digit wins at Ohio Valley Conference members Murray State and Morehead State. WKU's two losses have been at home to strong programs Vanderbilt and Illinois State.

"They're off to a good start. They've had some quality wins and they really gave Vanderbilt a good game," Margenthaler said.

Following today's game, the Redhawks return to action Friday with a 6:30 p.m. home contest against Missouri State.

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