Quiet Benson makes her noise on the court

Saturday, February 16, 2002

Veronica Benson insists she's not always quiet, even though it might seem that way.

"I can talk when somebody gets me going," she said with a laugh.

Benson, a 5-foot-7 senior guard at Southeast Missouri State University, usually lets her actions on the court do her talking. The junior-college transfer has been one of the Otahkians' top performers the past two seasons.

Heading into today's Ohio Valley Conference home game against Murray State, Benson is the Otahkians' second-leading scorer at 14 points per game and ranks second in steals (38), third in assists (48) and third in rebounding (5.3 average). A year ago, Benson was also Southeast's second-leading scorer (12.1 ppg).

"She's been a very good player for us the past two years," Southeast coach Ed Arnzen said. "She's very quick and she's really helped us in that area."

But Arnzen said he has enjoyed Benson's personal qualities even more than her considerable athletic skills.

"She's just been a sweetheart," Arnzen said. "I've told a lot of people that I've never respected any person more than Veronica Benson. She's a good student, she's polite. Her parents brought her up very well.

"Veronica is a good player, but her human qualities are even better than that."

As for Benson's quiet nature, Arnzen said with a grin, "She doesn't say a whole lot, but she's a quiet leader for us."

A native of Alexander City, Ala., Benson is a long way from home, but happy with her decision to attend Southeast.

"It's been a good overall experience for me," she said.

After she finishes this school year, Benson plans to transfer to Auburn in her home state to finish an engineering degree. In the meantime, she hopes to make the most of the Otahkians' final three regular-season games and to lead them to success in the OVC Tournament.

"I want to try and make the best out of these last few games and help us do well in the tournament," she said.

Notes

Southeast (13-11, 5-8), Murray State (10-13, 5-8) and Tennessee-Martin (7-17, 5-8) are locked in a three-way tie for fifth place in the OVC, with eighth-place Eastern Illinois (4-8) just a half-game behind.

The Otahkians still have an outside chance of catching fourth-place Morehead State (7-5) and earning a first-round home game for the OVC Tournament, but that is not likely since the Lady Eagles own the tie-breaker edge over Southeast since they swept the season series.

Senior center Pam Iversen recently became only the 28th Division I player and just the second from the OVC to record 1,000 points, 700 rebounds, 150 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks in a career.

Iversen ranks ninth on the Otahkians' career scoring list. She is fourth in rebounding and third in blocked shots.

Junior forward Lori Chase recently joined Iversen in the 1,000 point club. Chase is 12th in career scoring.

mmishow@semissourian.com

(573) 335-6611, extension 132

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