– Southeast Missouri women's basketball (12-8, 5-2 OVC) fell to Preseason Ohio Valley Conference favorites SIUE (11-9, 6-1 OVC) Wednesday evening, 80-73.
The Redhawks and Cougars entered the game each leading the OVC.
"I thought we gave great effort tonight," head coach Rekha Patterson
began. "I think we put ourselves in a position to make it a good ballgame, and it was; however, we did not execute defensively and there were some opportunities we missed in transition when we turned the ball over. We have to regroup, figure out the things we did wrong and what we can control and work to be better at those things the next game."
Senior Erin Bollmann
picked up a new career-high 23 points in the contest and fell a rebound short of recording a double-double.
Patterson continued, "I thought Erin played really, really hard and she was tough to defend tonight. Erin is tough to defend because she can do so many things. She has the ability to rebound the ball, to score in the post, and she leaves everything she has out on the floor."
The first half remained close as the lead changed a total of 11 times in the first 20 minutes with four ties.
The game opened with the Redhawks up 4-0. SIUE found its first lead with 6:25 to play, 7-6.
Southeast's largest lead of the first half came on a 3-point bucket by Imani Johnson
with 4:32 to play in the first quarter, 14-9. The Cougars went up by five with 42 seconds to play in the first period, 26-21. Connor King
made a pair of free throws with seven seconds left in the opening frame to bring the score to 26-24 in favor of the Cougars. The score would stand heading into the second quarter.
SIUE's Sidney Smith hit four 3-pointers in the first period to lead the way for the Cougars with 12 points.
Three-straight field goals by Johnson to open the second quarter gave the Redhawks a slim 30-29 lead.
Each team went scoreless for over a minute until SIUE's Erin Kelley hit a 3-point basket to go back on top, 32-30.
The Cougars' largest lead of the half came with 4:56 to play, 39-32.
Southeast was able to pull within three, 42-39, but that was as close as the Redhawks would get as they trailed 47-41 at halftime.
Johnson led the Redhawk offense with 12 first-half points. King pulled down seven boards in the half.
Southeast won the third quarter, outscoring the Cougars 15-13.
The Redhawks pulled within two of the Cougars, 51-49, with 5:03 to play in the third before SIUE immediately widened the lead back to nine, 60-51.
The period ended when Ashton Luttrull
pulled down an offensive rebound and threw up a good layup to end the period, 60-56 SIUE.
Down seven, 65-58, the Redhawks went on an 8-2 run to pull within one of the Cougars with 2:41 to play.
This would be the closest Southeast would get to SIUE as the Cougars went on to find their largest lead of the game of 10 with 16 seconds to play.
Bollmann hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to tip a new career-high and bring the final score to 80-73.
Bollmann finished with nine rebounds to complement her 23 points. She hit nine field goals, one 3-pointer, and was 4-of-7 from the line.
Johnson tallied 12 points with five rebounds. She fouled out of the game with 52 seconds to play.
The Cougars were led by Gwen Adams with 16 points. Lauren White tallied 13 points and a team-leading eight rebounds.
The OVC's leading scorer Shronda Butts tallied 12 points Wednesday, the least amount she has tallied in OVC play this season. Butts, who put up 30 points last week at Morehead State, had just one point in the first half of Wednesday's game.
"I have to give credit to Bri Mitchell
because she did a good job defending Butts tonight. SIUE is a good team and we saw that they are more than Butts and I knew that going in. She is very talented but I thought we did a good job on her; we just weren't disciplined with some of the others."
The Redhawks will return to the Show Me Center for three-straight games. Southeast opens the homestand Saturday at 2 p.m. when the defending OVC Champions UT Martin come to town.
Patterson concluded, "We need all the fan support we can get in the Show Me Center on Saturday when we play another really good program in UT Martin. We are going to be our best and give great effort and we're going to turn the page to working hard and tough as a team and now working smart."