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Otahks run down Div. II Reddies
Southeast Missouri State University's Otahkians showed off a fast-paced pressure style of basketball Friday for their regular-season opener, an 85-55 win over Henderson State at the Show Me Center.
Despite playing shorthanded after losing Miah Shelford to an injury in practice Thursday, the Otahkians applied pressure on the ball nearly every chance they got and wore the Reddies offense down in front of an announced crowd of 637.
While Southeast's defense kept the Reddies off balance all night, the Otahkians trailed for much of the first eight minutes and didn't take their first lead until Yashika Sidbury hit a three-point shot with 12:02 left in the half.
"I thought the first 10 minutes we were very average defensively," coach B.J. Smith said.
After calling a timeout down 23-21 with a little less than 10 minutes left in the half, the Otahkians went on a 6-0 run and outscored the Reddies 22-4 the rest of the half.
Smith said after the players regrouped coming out of the timeout, the defense stepped up.
"The last 30 minutes, we were a lot better," he said of the defensive effort.
With Southeast's pressure defense, Henderson State turned the ball over 11 times in the first half and shot only 13-for-34 from the field. The Otahkians finished the half with seven steals from seven different players.
Coming out of halftime with a 16-point lead, Southeast went to work right away at building on their lead. With both teams trading baskets throughout the first 10 minutes of the half, it was a big three from Sarah Costello off a loose ball that finally pushed the lead to 22.
Costello was strong the whole night, moving the ball up the court and making things happen off the dribble. Costello finished with 10 points, six assists and four steals, all while playing on a ginger leg.
"It was fun tonight," Costello said.
After getting the lead to 22, the Otahkians never let it slip below 20 points and made it 31 late in the game. Southeast did its scoring damage by hitting 55 percent of its shots, including 64 percent from behind the arc.
Leading the scoring attack for Southeast was senior LaShelle Porter. Porter had 13 points and eight rebounds, doing much of her damage off the drive.
Porter said she enjoys playing in Smith's up-tempo offense.
"We've always wanted to play this way," Porter said.
Even with the 85 points, Smith said his team still has a lot of growing to do on the offensive side, but with the amount of injuries they're working with he was pleased with the performance.
"I thought our kids did a great job," he said.
All nine players scored seven or more points for Southeast, with five players in double figures. Besides Porter's 13 and Costello's 10, Lori Chase and Sidbury had 10, and Carina Sousa added 11.
The Otahkians got strong games from several players who didn't see significant playing time in the preseason, including Shannon Proffit, who played 26 minutes. Proffit had six rebounds and eight points.
Costello said Friday's performance was a good indicator of the season to come.
"It's an outline of how we're going to play," she said.
Southeast transfer TaKeela Bell led all scorers with 20 points for Henderson State.
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