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Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team falls to OVC leader
Eastern Illinois rolled to a 64-46 victory over the Redhawks
Having one of your worst offensive performances of the season is generally not conducive to upsetting the Ohio Valley Conference's top women's basketball team.
Throw in what Southeast Missouri State coach Ty Margenthaler called a disappointing effort and it left the Redhawks no chance.
Eastern Illinois had control virtually all the way Saturday, rolling 64-46 at the Show Me Center to complete a two-game season sweep of the Redhawks and beat Southeast for the ninth straight time.
"A frustrating afternoon," said Margenthaler, whose squad saw EIU pull away late during an 82-62 loss on Jan. 26 in Charleston, Ill. "The most frustrating thing, our effort wasn't better. It has been for the most part. I was really disappointed with our effort."
Southeast (9-15, 3-8) remained fifth in the six-team OVC West Division and 10th overall in the 12-team conference -- the top eight make the league tournament -- with five games remaining.
EIU (15-8, 9-2) leads the West Division and also tops the overall conference standings. The Panthers have won four straight and 10 of their last 12, while Southeast has lost seven of its past eight.
"They're a good basketball team, senior oriented, very big. There's really not a lot of holes in their lineup," Margenthaler said.
Southeast tied its second-lowest point total of the season. The 46 points were the fewest for the Redhawks in an OVC game.
"It wasn't our best motion game on offense. It was a tough shooting night. We should have attacked more," freshman guard Kara Wright said. "We were pretty stagnant. We settled for a lot of outside shots."
The Redhawks' 32.3-percent field-goal shooting was their fourth-worst of the campaign. They hit a miserable 11.5 percent from 3-point range, their third-worst mark of the season.
Margenthaler also thought the Redhawks should have attacked the basket more, which he said was their game plan. But Southeast attempted 26 3-pointers among its 62 total shots. The Redhawks made three baskets from beyond the arc.
"I thought we had a good game plan. We wanted to attack the basket more, get to the free-throw line," said Margenthaler, whose squad attempted just six foul shots. "We took way too many 3-pointers. We just weren't real disciplined. That's discouraging."
Although Southeast held only two leads, at 2-0 and 5-4 in the early going, the Redhawks were behind by just four points late in the first half and trailed only 28-21 at the break.
EIU quickly took control in the second half, building a 42-26 lead less than five minutes in. The margin never dipped below nine points the rest of the way, and EIU led by double figures for the final 9 minutes, 15 seconds.
"There's a point where we were just settling for 3s instead of attacking to get better shots," junior point guard Jordan Hunter said.
EIU broke a 6-6 tie by scoring seven straight points. Southeast trailed the rest of the way.
Hunter was Southeast's lone double-figure scorer with 10 points. Wright added nine points. They combined to shoot 8 of 11 from the field -- Hunter was 2 of 4 on 3-pointers -- but most of the other Redhawks struggled.
Senior point guard Ta'Kenya Nixon, a three-time first-team all-conference selection and a two-time OVC defensive player of the year, led EIU with 14 points and eight assists.
EIU shot 39.6 percent, including 45.8 percent in the second half. The Panthers hit 17 of 23 free throws compared to 3 of 6 for the Redhawks.
Southeast finishes a two-game homestand Monday against SIU Edwardsville (12-11, 6-5) in an unusual 11 a.m. tipoff as part of the Redhawks' "Classroom on Court" program that invites students from area schools to the game for an educational field trip.
SIUE beat the Redhawks 78-65 on Jan. 28 in Edwardsville, Ill.
"We have to regroup in a hurry," Margenthaler said