The Redhawks, 1-8 this season in true road games, visit EIU on Saturday
The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team for the most part has played well at home this season but has struggled on the road.
Coach Ty Margenthaler knows the Redhawks will have to be on top of their game Saturday in order to have a shot at picking up an upset win away from Cape Girardeau.
Southeast (8-11, 2-4 Ohio Valley Conference) will be in Charleston, Ill., for a 4 p.m. matchup with OVC powerhouse Eastern Illinois (11-8, 5-2).
"They're a very good basketball team, senior-oriented," Margenthaler said as the Redhawks begin a two-game road swing that ends Monday at SIU Edwardsville (9-10, 3-4).
The Redhawks are 6-3 at home but just 1-8 in true road games (they also have a neutral-site victory).
But Southeast's most recent Show Me Center appearance left Margenthaler frustrated as the Redhawks lost to Morehead State 70-64 on Monday.
Southeast allowed an opponent to shoot better than 48 percent for the first time this season as Morehead hit 51 percent, including a sizzling 61.9 percent in the second half.
"Very disappointing," said Margenthaler, whose squad has dropped three straight to match its longest losing streak of the season. "We're going to regroup and find out what this team is made of."
EIU, picked second in the OVC West Division behind defending conference regular-season and tournament champion Tennessee-Martin, is the current West Division co-leader along with the Skyhawks.
The Panthers had won three straight and six of seven before Monday's surprising 68-58 loss at Murray State.
EIU entered this season with the OVC's top overall (106-55) and conference (72-18) records during the previous five years. They have one OVC regular-season title and never have finished worse than third during that span.
The Panthers, 22-9 overall and a second-place 13-3 in the conference a year ago, hammered Southeast in both matchups, 73-46 in Cape Girardeau and 74-48 in Charleston, Ill. The Redhawks have lost seven consecutive meetings against EIU.
EIU had the most selections on the preseason all-OVC team with three, led by 5-foot-8 senior point guard Ta'Kenya Nixon, a three-time first-team all-conference selection and a two-time OVC defensive player of the year.
Other EIU players on the OVC's preseason list are 6-2 senior forward Mariah King and 6-1 senior forward Sydney Mitchell.
Nixon leads a balanced EIU offensive attack with an average of 13.8 points per game. She is second in the OVC in assists with a 5.4 average and third in steals at 2.5.
"She's one of the best point guards in this conference," Margenthaler said.
King is EIU's other double-figure scorer with a 13.2 average.