Otahks look to end four-game OVC skid

Thursday, February 14, 2002

The last time Southeast Missouri State University's women played at the Show Me Center, they were hopeful of contending for a top-four Ohio Valley Conference finish, which would mean a home date for the first round of the OVC Tournament.

But a lot has changed since then. After losing four straight road games, the Otahkians (12-11, 4-8 OVC) find themselves near the bottom of the OVC standings as they begin their final homestand of the season today against Tennessee-Martin (7-16, 5-7). The tipoff will be at 5:30 p.m.

"The next three games are very important for us," said Southeast coach Ed Arnzen, whose squad will host Murray State Saturday and Eastern Illinois Monday before closing out the regular season Feb. 23 at Austin Peay.

Southeast has virtually been eliminated from contention for a finish in the OVC's top four. The Otahkians are in seventh place, only one game behind both Tennessee-Martin and Murray State but three games behind fourth-place Morehead State.

Arnzen simply wants the Otahkians, who have not played at home since Jan. 26, to build some momentum heading into the postseason.

"There's probably no advantage to finish in a certain spot if you can't get in the top four because the league has been so unpredictable," Arnzen said. "I believe anybody who gets in the tournament has a legitimate shot. It's been that kind of season."

"The important thing is to be playing well at the end of the year, not just the last game but the last few games. That's why I thought our last road game at Eastern Kentucky was important. Even though we lost, we played well. Hopefully we'll continue that in these next few games."

Southeast defeated UTM 64-59 on Jan. 17 in Martin, Tenn., but Arnzen expects to see a much tougher foe tonight. The Skyhawks have won three straight, including an upset of OVC power Tennessee Tech in their most recent outing.

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