Otahkians can't duplicate Saturday success vs. AP

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- The Ed Arnzen era ended at Southeast Missouri State University Tuesday night with the Otahkians' 75-67 loss to Austin Peay in the first round of the women's Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.

Junior guard Brooke Armistead played a major role in Arnzen and the Otahkians' exit with 32 points. Armistead, last year's OVC Tournament MVP, scored 31 points in an 80-68 home loss to Southeast in the OVC regular-season finale on Saturday.

"It's hard for us to come down and beat them two times in four days," said Arnzen, whose 19th team at Southeast finished the season at 16-12. "The teams are so evenly matched."

Austin Peay (17-11), the fourth seed, advanced to the semifinals where it will face top-seeded Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.

Southeast, the fifth seed, held one of its few leads, 34-32, at halftime.

Austin Peay wasted little time in taking the lead for good, opening the half with a 9-0 run. Paige Smith gave the Govs a 41-34 lead less than three minutes in. Southeast crept within 41-40 with a 6-0 spurt on baskets by Tisa Thomas, Veronica Benson and LaShelle Porter, but never caught Austin Peay.

A game-deciding run

Gerlonda Hardin scored from close range to end the run and launch a game-deciding 19-4 spurt. Armistead gave Austin Peay a 60-44 lead with under 10 minutes remaining.

Southeast got as close as 70-64 with 1:52 left on a Lori Chase free throw, but saw Armistead seal its fate by hitting five of six free throws.

"Any time you lose it's disappointing, but one that ends the season is real disappointing," said Arnzen, whose career at Southeast ended at 340-202.

Hardin finished with 20 points for Austin Peay, while Smith had 14.

Chase led Southeast with 17 points. Two seniors found double figures in their final game as Veronica Benson scored 16 and Pam Iversen had 12. Lashelle Porter also had 12 points.

The Otahkians trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half before taking the lead by halftime.

Southeast led 4-2 after a Tiffany Melis basket, but the Otahks would not lead again until Benson stole an inbounds pass and scored with two seconds left in the half for a 34-32 lead.

The steal came just seconds after Benson had finally pulled Southeast even with a pair of free throws. It marked the first time the time Southeast had not trailed since a Chase basket had tied the score 8-8 in the opening minutes.

The Govs responded with a 16-6 spurt, capped by a Armistead 3-pointer with 8:30 left in the half.

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