Women's Basketball Opens Season at Pre-season NIT
Nov. 13, 2003
Cape Girardeau, Mo. - The Otahkians are headed to Salt Lake City to open their 2003-04 season. The squad faces No. 19 Utah tomorrow, November 14, in their first appearance in the Pre-season Women's National Invitational Tournament. This year's field boasts a wealth of talented competition as six of the teams are ranked in the top 25 in the nation in pre-season polls.
Scouting Southeast... The squad kicked-off action for the 2003-04 season with two home exhibition wins. Southeast beat Union University 84-66 and then went on to top St. Louis Goldstar 93-56. Goldstar challenged Southeast through much of the first half, but Southeast increased the tempo in the second half to spread their lead to 37 points. Southeast averaged 89 points in the two games, as they look to improve on last year's finish of 14th in the nation in scoring offense.
Leading the team in scoring after two pre-season games are newcomers Sami Jo Cotton and Chandra Brown. Cotton is averaging 15.5 points per game, shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from downtown. Newcomer Chandra Brown, is following closely behind with an average of 14 points per game. She is shooting 56.6 percent from the field and is hitting the boards hard, averaging 6.5 per game.
Senior Yashika Sidbury leads the returning squad in scoring as she is averaging 12.5 per game, while also bringing down 5.5 boards per game. Last season's OVC Newcomer of the Year, Kenja White, is coming off a strong performance as she led the team last game with 17 points. Point guard Sarah Costello has been playing well behind the scenes. Costello is the leading the team in both assists (10) and steals (6).
Senior Miah Shelford is questionable for the game as she suffered a shoulder injury earlier this week.
This match-up will really test the strength and endurance of this Southeast squad, as they match-up against the first of four nationally ranked teams on their schedule this season. It will be a challenge to step until Utah after they finished with a perfect record at home last season.
Scouting No. 19 Utah... The Utes are coming off two pre-season exhibition wins as they return all five starters from last year's squad that finished 24-7 overall. The squad was among the top 25 teams in the nation all last season and they have been picked as high as 13th in pre-season polls. Last season the squad made a perfect run at home finishing 13-0. The Utes also finished 12-2 in conference competition, claiming the Mountain West title. The squad was selected as the unanimous favorite to claim the crown again this season by the league's head coaches and select media.
The squad downed Utah Valley State College 67-32 and then barely squeaked out a 54-48 win, Wednesday night over Northwest Sports, a traveling team composed of former collegiate all-stars. Utah struggled offensively against Northwest Sports as they shot just 30% from the field and 28% from three-point range. Utah was strong on the boards though, as they out-rebounded 45-29. After two exhibition games, sophomore Kim Smith is leading the way with 31 points. Last game she recorded a double-double, scoring 11 and bringing down 10 boards.
All-time Series... This marks the first meeting of the two squads.
Up Next... If Southeast wins, they will travel to California to face the winner of the San Diego/UC Santa Barbara game for round two. Southeast returns home to host Southern Illinois University in their season home opener. The two squads will hit the hardwood on Friday, Nov. 21 as the ball goes up at 6:00 p.m. in the Show Me Center.