Southeast Missouri State women try to end skid at SIUE

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Redhawks have lost a season-high four games in a row

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team is struggling more than it has during any point of its resurgent season.

Southeast, riding a season-long four-game losing streak, will try to break out of its slump today when it ends a two-game road trip.

The Redhawks (8-12, 2-5 Ohio Valley Conference) are in Edwardsville, Ill., for a 7 p.m. matchup with SIU Edwardsville (10-10, 4-4).

"It's going to be another tough game for us," Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler said. "SIU Edwardsville is very good."

Southeast began its road swing Saturday at OVC powerhouse Eastern Illinois. The Redhawks' struggles away from Cape Girardeau continued as they lost 82-62, although the game was competitive much of the way.

"I thought we did some good things," said Margenthaler, whose squad is 6-3 at home but just 1-9 in true road games, including 0-3 in conference road matchups.

It won't be easy for Southeast to get back in the win column against an SIUE squad that had an impressive debut season in the OVC last year and is eligible for the OVC tournament for the first time this season.

SIUE went 18-12 overall and 12-4 in conference play last year, leading the Cougars to be picked third in the six-team OVC West Division this year. Southeast was tabbed for last.

The Cougars handled the Redhawks by 15 points in both meetings a year ago, 58-43 in Cape Girardeau and 63-48 in Edwardsville.

SIUE is coming off Saturday's 67-66 overtime home win over defending OVC regular-season and tournament champion Tennessee-Martin.

"They're a lot like Eastern Illinois -- very physical," Margenthaler said.

SIUE features one of the league's top inside players in 6-foot-1 senior forward Raven Berry, who is seventh on the school's career scoring list and needs just three rebounds to become the program's all-time leader in that category.

Berry, a second-team all-OVC selection last year, is averaging 13.4 points and 9.2 rebounds to rank eighth and fourth in the conference, respectively. She has helped the Cougars to a league-best plus-7.6 rebounding margin.

"She's awfully good, very strong," Margenthaler said.

The Cougars have one other double-figure scorer in 5-9 sophomore guard Tierny Austin (12.2 ppg).

Despite the Redhawks' current skid, they have made significant strides this season.

The Redhawks have already won more games than during Margenthaler's first season last year when they went 7-22. And Southeast's next victory will mark the program's most wins since the 2008-09 squad went 15-15.

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