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Southeast Missouri State women's basketball coach faces mentor, friend when SLU visits
Southeast Missouri State women's basketball coach Ty Margenthaler will see a familiar face on the opposing bench today when the Redhawks finish their three-game homestand at 6:30 p.m. against Saint Louis University.
First-year SLU coach Lisa Stone previously directed the Wisconsin program for eight seasons -- five of which were spent with Margenthaler as an assistant.
"She's a tremendous basketball coach and a great person," said Margenthaler, Southeast's second-year coach and Wisconsin's former recruiting coordinator who was with the Badgers from 2006 through 2011.
Margenthaler and Stone experienced plenty of success at Wisconsin as the Badgers went 96-68 and qualified for four postseason tournaments (one NCAA and three WNIT) during their five seasons together.
"I loved working for her, and I learned a lot from her. It will be fun competing against her," Margenthaler said.
Margenthaler said Stone still is a good friend, but his primary focus today will be on directing Southeast to a victory. He believes, win or lose, playing an Atlantic 10 Conference program will only make the Redhawks better.
"To see her will be fun. We talk all the time. We text all the time," Margenthaler said. "It will be good for us as a basketball team."
Southeast (7-8, 2-1 Ohio Valley Conference) will be facing a SLU program that has struggled for years but is off to a respectable 6-8 start under Stone, who is 509-245 in her 27th season as a collegiate coach. The Billikens have not yet opened their Atlantic 10 Conference schedule.
"Their team is getting better and better," Margenthaler said.
SLU has had nine straight losing seasons, its last winning record a 17-14 mark in 2002-03. The Bills have had just two winning seasons in the past 26 years.
The Bills went 11-20 overall and 4-10 in A-10 play a year ago. One of their wins was a 54-45 decision over Southeast in St. Louis.
Three SLU players average double-figure points, led by 6-foot junior forward Lorreal Jones with a 12.3 mark. She also is the Bills' leading rebounder with 7.8 per contest.
Other top scorers for SLU are 5-8 senior guard Courtney Webb (11.6 ppg) and 6-2 senior center Mallory Eggert (10.7 ppg).
"It's going to be a big challenge for us," Margenthaler said.
While Stone is trying to turn around SLU's program, Margenthaler is attempting the same task at Southeast.
Margenthaler appears to be on the right track. The Redhawks already have matched their win total from all of his first season last year, when they went 7-22.
Southeast is 2-1 in OVC play for the first time since the 2007-08 season, which marks the Redhawks' last conference title. They have won two straight games for the first time since early during the 2010-11 campaign.
"We put two wins together, now we want to make it three [straight]," junior forward Patricia Mack said.
The Redhawks are tied for first place in the OVC West Division after being picked to finish last.
"We've still got a long way to go but I'm excited," said Margenthaler, whose squad is 5-1 at home. "We're really growing as a basketball team."
Today marks Southeast's final nonconference game of the season. The Redhawks resume OVC play Monday at Tennessee State.