Redhawks Host Bulldogs in First Round of the O'Reilly OVC Championship Tournament
March 1, 2005
Tonight is the start of the Redhawks journey to the OVC Tournament title and their first NCAA berth. They come into the game winners of three-straight and look to extend their home-winning streak vs OVC opponentsto 17 games.
Southeast, the No. 2 seed hosts No. 7 Samford (13-14, 6-10 OVC) in the opening round of the OVC Championship Tournament on Tuesday in the Show Me Center. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard live on C-106 FM or on www.gosoutheast.com.
Southeast has had success against Samford with a 4-0 all-time record against the Bulldogs. Southeast won their earlier contest this season 85-49 in the Show Me Center.
The Bulldogs head into the match-up losers of three-straight. Last Thursday they dropped a 45-38 contest to Tennessee State. This is first time in four years that the Bulldogs has qualified for their conference tournament.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Samford comes to Southeast in the midst of a three-game losing-streak. They lost to Tennessee State, 45-38 on Thursday.
Taryn Towns scored a team-high 10 points in the loss.
This is the Bulldogs first conference tournament appearance in four years. The 13 wins this season is the Bulldogs second-highest win total in their history
The Bulldogs return four starters from a team that went 10-17 and 3-13 in the OVC last season. This season's team is much improved with experience and a favorable early non-conference schedule.
The Bulldogs have been hurt by the loss of preseason 2nd team All-OVC pick Alex Munday to injury. Forward Veronica Pike and guard Cora Beth Smith have made up for the loss by averaging 9.9 ppg apiece.
Samford has been stingy on defense allowing opponents only 56.4 ppg which leads the OVC and a 39-percent shooting percentage.
However they are the lowest scoring team in the OVC averaging only 56.4 ppg.
Earlier this season the Redhawks won by 36 points, 85-49. Natalie Purcell tied a school-record for three's made in a single-game with six on her way to a game-high 18 points. Southeast shot a season-high 59-percent from the field.
Mike Morris is in third year at Samford and has a 27-45 record as head coach.
WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE
It's no secret that in order to be successful as an athletic team that you must win at home. Protecting and winning on your home court is a must in any sport. If you can't do that success will be very hard to come by.
Southeast has the market cornered in home court advantage, especially under the helm of B.J. Smith. Since Smith has taken over the Otahkians have gone 32-4 at the Show Me Center. Last season the team went 11-1 at home. This season they are 13-1.
The Southeast offense has come alive at home as well. Last season the Otahkians averaged 80 points per game and held opponents to 63 points at the Show Me Center. This season they are averaging an amazing 80.6 ppg and allowing only 57.6 ppg.
Since the 2001 season Southeast is 16-2 against non-conference opponents. Under Coach Smith Southeast is 11-1 at the Show Me Center vs. non-conference foes.
They have won 16-straight vs OVC opponents dating back to last season at the Show Me Center.
Since the opening of the Show Me Center (1987), Southeast is 184-65 (.739) at home.
SHE'S A BALLER...BABY
It's hard to believe that soccer (or futbol) is the national sport of Brazil, especially if you've seen how junior Tatiana Conceicao has dominated the game of basketball this season. She's among the nation's leaders in both scoring (17.9 ppg) and steals (2.6). Since her 26-points debut vs Oklahoma she's been on a tear.
She has scored in double-figures in all but two game this season. She has topped the 20-point plateau in 12 of her games including seven of her last 15 games.
Currently 2nd in scoring and steals in the OVC, she has been on fire since the start of conference play. She is averaging 17.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.5 steals per game and shooting 54-percent from the field.
In New Zealand there is a ceremony that they call powhiri. This ceremony is a greeting given to visitors of New Zealand to make them feel welcomed and relax during their stay.
Though a visitor to the United States Natalie Purcell, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, has given Southeast opponents her version of a powhiri by scoring and rebounding. She is averaging 8.9 ppg and 4.1 rpg this season.
It's only fitting that most of her "greetings" have come from a distance considering the distance she traveled to play college basketball. She leads the team in three-pointers attempted and is 2nd in three-pointers made. 144 of her 239 points have come via the three.
Senior guard Brandi Russia was thought to be a gamble when she came to Southeast. That gamble has certainly paid off this season.
She has taken over as the vocal leader of the team and has led on the court. Her scoring average of 10.4 ppg is way above her career average 3.7 ppg. In 27 games this season she has broke her previous career-high in points in a game eight times, including a a new high of 21 points vs Tennessee State on Feb. 12.
Chandra Brown has made her presence felt on the defensive end of the court. Brown is currently second in the OVC in blocked shots with 44 for an average of 1.7 per game.
She needs two more blocks to tie the single season blocks record at 46, held by Vera Roberts and Pam Iversen In OVC play she has upped that number to over 2 blocked shots per game. S
he currently ranks fifth, tied with Allison Iversen on the school's all-time career list with 70 career blocked shots.