Fresh off loss, Otahks seek win over tough Eagles

Saturday, February 2, 2002

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Southeast Missouri State University's Otahkians would have faced a daunting challenge tonight under any circumstances.

But coming off Thursday's surprise loss at Tennessee State, the task for the Otahkians as they prepare to face Ohio Valley Conference powerhouse Tennessee Tech is perhaps even greater.

"It would have been tough no matter what," said Southeast coach Ed Arnzen. "But after this loss, it's probably a little tougher. We have to get focused and ready to play."

The Otahkians (12-8, 4-5 OVC) and Golden Eaglettes (14-5, 7-1) will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Eblen Center. Tech is tied for first place in the conference while Southeast is fifth in the nine-team league.

"Tech is an outstanding team," Arnzen said. "They have the best player in the conference in Janet Holt and good players around her."

Holt, a senior center, is the OVC's leading scorer at nearly 24 points per game, which ranks her in the top five nationally. She is the two-time OVC Player of the Year.

And although Southeast is just 1-9 against Tech at the Eblen Center, Arnzen said the Otahkians have a shot at the upset. He's encouraged that Southeast took Tech to the wire earlier this season at the Show Me Center before losing 80-77.

"We match up well with them and I think we can play with them," said Arnzen. "You know Holt is going to get her points, but if we can keep them from shooting well outside, we've got a shot."

The Otahkians will likely have to pull off a road upset or two to have a chance at finishing among the OVC's top four teams and earning a home game in the first round of the league tournament.

Southeast has already lost at home to the top four squads in the standings -- Tech, Eastern Kentucky, Austin Peay and Morehead State -- which made Thursday's 88-79 double-overtime setback at last-place Tennessee State even worse.

Otahkian senior center Pam Iversen has a chance to accomplish a major career milestone tonight. She needs one assist and one steal to become just the second Southeast player to record 1,000 points, 700 rebounds, 150 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks. Only one other player in the history of the OVC has attained those numbers on the Division I level.

mmishow@semissourian.com

(573)335-6611, extension 132

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