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Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team ends six-game skid against Austin Peay
The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team used a big second half and a big performance from freshman guard Kara Wright to get back in the win column.
Southeast pulled away from Monday night's two-point halftime lead to trounce host Austin Peay 69-51 in Clarksville, Tenn., behind Wright's career-high 23 points.
The Redhawks, who ended their season-long six-game losing streak, improved to 9-14 overall and 3-7 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Southeast's nine wins are the program's most since the 2008-09 squad went 15-15. The Redhawks also surpassed last year's road win total and secured a season sweep of the Governors for the first time since the 2007-08 season. It was Southeast's first win at Austin Peay since 2007-08.
"It was a great win for us. I was really proud of the team effort," said second-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler, whose squad is 2-10 in true road games, including 1-4 in OVC road contests. "Any time you get a Division I road win, it's special. To get this victory, knowing our backs are against the wall, is big time.
"It's been a long time coming. Even in that [losing] streak we were competing every single night. I'm just glad the hard work paid off. They stayed together, and I'm so happy for this young group."
Southeast remained fifth in the six-team OVC West Division and 10th overall in the 12-team league, while West Division cellar-dweller Austin Peay (6-16, 1-9) is 11th. The top eight finishers make the OVC tournament.
"We've got a lot of work to do, but it definitely keeps us alive," said Margenthaler, whose squad has six OVC games remaining.
The Redhawks rolled past Austin Peay 71-57 on Jan. 5 in Cape Girardeau for their first OVC win of the season.
Monday's rematch was close for a half before Southeast took control.
Southeast scored the game's first four points before the Govs used an 11-0 run to build their biggest lead of the night at 11-4.
The Redhawks remained behind the rest of the period until a 3-pointer by freshman guard Dru Haertling with 1 minute, 14 seconds left put Southeast back up 24-22.
It was 24-22 at the break and Southeast never relinquished the lead.
Southeast scored the first nine points of the second half -- on 3-pointers by senior guard Bailie Roberts, Wright and senior forward Brittany Harriel -- to go ahead 33-22 and the Redhawks stayed in control the rest of the way.
The Redhawks outscored the Govs 45-29 in the final period, thanks in part to 50-percent field-goal shooting.
Wright, who has had a strong freshman season, scored 19 of her 23 points in the final period.
"Kara had a super game and she's going to be a special player," Margenthaler said.
The native of Louisville, Ky., was playing her first collegiate game in the city where her father starred for the Austin Peay men's basketball team in the late 1960s.
Howard Wright, also a former ABA player, is a member of Austin Peay's athletic hall of fame whose uniform with the Govs is retired. He was in attendance Monday to watch his daughter.
"It's kind of neat for Kara, to play so well here tonight with her dad's uniform retired here," Margenthaler said.
Roberts and Harriel each scored 12 points. Harriel and junior forward Patricia Mack paced Southeast rebounders with nine each.
Haertling, a Jackson High School graduate, provided a strong lift off the bench. She scored six points -- on two 3-pointers -- while contributing a team-high four assists and two steals.
"Dru came in and had a great game," Margenthaler said.