Patterson earns top honor; Redhawks set for NCAA Tournament appearance

Rekha Patterson and the SEMO women's basketball team are the toast of the town.

The Redhawks recently won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament over No. 1 seed UT-Martin 64-47. While nothing beats a championship victory, the game itself may not have been the most exciting one of the tournament. In the opening game, the Redhawks defeated Tennessee Tech 82-81 in overtime. With seconds left in the game and down by two points, SEMO sophomore point guard Taelour Pruitt made a long-range, three-point basket at the buzzer. Next, SEMO went on to win over four-time defending champion Belmont 114-99.

Following the tournament win, Southeast athletic director Brady Barke commended Patterson's leadership.

"Winning is hard, and championships are even harder," Barke told the Southeast Missourian.

"It would have been easy for (the Redhawks) to be a selfish team with so many great players," he added, "but Rekha developed a culture that is unselfish and caring for one another."

Patterson was named OVC Coach of the Year before the tournament began. This is Patterson's fifth season at the helm for Southeast, and in all five seasons the Redhawks have qualified for the OVC Tournament. It's the first time for Southeast to advance to the NCAA Tournament since 2007.

On Monday evening the Redhawks will learn their next opponent when ESPN broadcasts its NCAA Tournament selection show. A local gathering will be held at Dogwood Social House. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show will begin at 6 p.m.

The newspaper will have a special section in Wednesday's edition to celebrate an incredible season. This extra coverage is made possible in part by support from advertising sponsors. Please support them in return.

You can follow the Redhawks in the NCAA Tournament online at semoball.com and in the Southeast Missourian. Coverage of the Redhawks trip to the 2020 NCAA Tournament is made possible in part by Cape Girardeau Regional Airport/United Airlines.

Congratulations to SEMO on a well-earned tournament title, and all the best to coach Patterson and team as they enter the NCAA Tournament.