Winning streak: Southeast takes third straight
Thursday, January 10, 2013
The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team defined the word "team" on Wednesday night.
The Redhawks (8-8) saw ten players get significant minutes and play valuable roles as they held off a Saint Louis University (6-9) squad 59-52 at the Show Me Center.
"What's really helping this basketball team right now -- and I'm really proud of this -- is our bench," said second-year coach Ty Margenthaler. "We were  strong. ... Like tonight, Olivia Hickman comes in and does a great job, and Dru Haertling comes in and gives Jordan [Hunter] some minutes. It's nice and refreshing to know you can go to the bench."
In improving to 8-8 on the season, Southeast has already surpassed last season's win total, when the Redhawks finished 7-22.
The Redhawks did it behind team play and stifling defense.
Southeast held the Billikinss to 32.8 percent shooting on the night, including 26 percent in the first half.
"That's what won the ballgame," Margenthaler said. "I thought we were really aggressive, I thought our double-teams were outstanding, I thought it gave them a lot of trouble."
Saint Louis raced to an 11-7 lead five minutes into the contest before Southeast settled down and went to work.
The Redhawks used a 15-4 run midway through the first half to take a 22-15 lead with just over eight minutes left in the half.
Southeast connected on three 3-pointers in that stretch to forge ahead.
"We were feeling it," freshman guard Olivia Hackmann said. "We found the open person and they knocked down the shots. It was a team effort."
Hackmann was key off the bench. The 5-foot-10 freshman came in averaging 10 minutes a contest and made the most of her 16 minutes Wednesday.
"It was great to have Olivia come off the bench and really do what she did," Margenthaler said. "She's a talented player. She's going to be really special. Again, I'd like to try to get more minutes, but to get 16 minutes and do what she did tonight is really good.
Hackmann finished with nine points, six coming in the second half.
"I just knew these past few games I haven't really contributed that much," Hackmann said. "But I knew I had to get back into it, and my team was there and it just all clicked."
Southeast pulled ahead 28-18 with 3:10 remaining, but failed to score the rest of the way, allowing the Bills to close the gap to 28-22 at halftime.
The Redhawks did not make a field goal the final 5 minutes 47 seconds of the first half.
"We talk about a lot of times, complete the game, play a 40-minute game," Margenthaler said. "Saint Louis got hot, they were really curling on us really well, and we tried to make a little adjustment there to stop that. We were maybe taking quick shots, and maybe the wrong people were shooting at the wrong time."
Southeast made the necessary adjustments in the second half, and Patricia Mack capped a 6-0 run to start the half with a basket to take a 34-22 lead.
Mack, a six-foot junior, contributed eight points to go along with her game-high 15 rebounds.
"I worked on it a lot in practice," Mack said. "It's just something I've grown to take on as one of my big roles on the team."
The Redhawks banged well on the boards, narrowly losing the rebound battle 40-39.
"Coming in, we knew we had to focus more on blocking out their post players," Mack said. "They're good at rebounding."
Southeast appeared to have the game under control after a Hackmann basket made it 51-38 with just over three minutes remaining, but Saint Louis refused to quit.
The Billikins trailed 53-41 with 53 seconds remaining but finished with a flurry.
Jacy Bradley scored eight of her game-high 24 points in the final minute.
"She's a strong guard," Margenthaler said. "She's got a quick release, and she's got deep range."
The Redhawks converted eight out of their 10 free-throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
The victory may have been extra special for Margenthaler, who spent five seasons under Saint Louis' first-year coach, Lisa Stone, at Wisconsin.
Stone coached Wisconsin for eight seasons prior to making the move to Saint Louis.
"What a tough stretch this basketball team has played under," Margenthaler said. "Five days, three ballgames, two conference games, and get out of the league and play a strong Saint Louis basketball team. It was a gut check. It wasn't the prettiest game in the world, but I thought our kids gutted it out.
"To get out of conference and beat an in-state school is very important for this program because we recruit our state very hard, and this can only spring us forward in conference play."