Otahks' record larceny leads to easy victory

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Southeast records 30 steals in 90-42 win over Oakland City.

By Jeremy Joffray ~ Southeast Missourian

Southeast Missouri State University used a record-setting defensive performance and a 57-point second half offensive explosion to rout Division II Oakland City 90-42 for its fourth straight win Monday night at the Show Me Center.

Despite another slow offensive start, the Otahkians defense forced a single-game record of 44 turnovers, including a record-setting 30 steals.

Southeast coach B.J. Smith said the team just didn't come out strong early on.

"Our intensity wasn't good early," he said. "The last three games we've started out slow."

Oakland City used an 8-0 run midway through the first half to take a 17-15 lead with eight minutes to play. Southeast's defense stepped it up from there, holding the Oaks to four points the rest of the half. With the help of a 12-0 run the Otahkians found themselves up 33-21 at halftime.

Smith said his team's first-half problems aren't something the team should put much stock in.

"We don't want to spend too much time harping on it," he said.

Coming out of halftime Southeast came out blazing, hitting 9-of-10 shots through the first four minutes of the half. Southeast pushed its 12-point halftime lead to 30 after only five minutes of play in the second half.

Smith said the team didn't make any big adjustments during the half.

What Southeast did do was shoot lights out in the second half. After shooting a respectable 43 percent from the floor in the first half, Southeast shot over 62 percent in the second half. A key to the turnaround was the second-half performance of Lori Chase, who was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field.

"I really think this team is capable of scoring a lot of points," Smith said.

Chase, who finished with a game-high 26 points, said the team stepped it up in the second half, but still has some work to do.

"Like every game we need to work on things," she said. "The second half we stayed at it a lot."

The Otahkians forced 30 or more turnovers for the third straight game -- all wins. And when the defense wasn't forcing turnovers, it pressured the Oaks into bad shots with little time on the shot clock.

Smith said one goal of their pressure defense is to bring the shot clock under 10 when their opponents are just getting over half court.

"We did that as good as any game," he said of Monday's performance.

Point guards Tiffanne Ryan and Sarah Costello each had strong defensive nights. Ryan led the team with seven steals, and Costello added six of the Otahkians' steals on the night. The 30 steals broke the old single-game record of 24 set in 1993.

Offensively the Otahkians had three players in double figures. Besides Chase's 26 points, Yashika Sidbury had 14 and Kenja White 13. Shannon Proffit had a strong game, playing a game-high 29 minutes while scoring eight points. Costello led the team in assists with 11, while only turning the ball over four times.

Proffit said their second-half performance was simply a case of executing and moving the ball.

"We just stuck to the plan," she said.

Sidbury went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line, ending her streak of 22 straight attempts without a miss. The streak spanned four games.

Smith said the win was a big one for Southeast, with three tough road games up next for the team.

"This is key for us, so we can get a little rhythm," he said.

jjoffray@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 171

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