The Eastern women’s basketball team will have to rebound quickly from the tough loss against Tennessee-Martin in its final two home games starting with Southeast Missouri.
Eastern (8-16, 4-8 OVC) is still alive for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, but a win over Southeast Missouri will put them in a better spot. The loss to Tennessee-Martin put them into the No. 8 seed.
This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season. Eastern went on the road to Southeast Missouri on Jan. 21 and came away with a 71-62 victory. The Panthers had to hold off the Redhawks’ fourth quarter rally to pull off the road win, but they had three players finish with double figures.
Junior Grace Lennox led the Panthers with 18 points and played the full 40 minutes. Sophomore Carmen Tellez and senior Erica Brown were the other Panthers to reach double figures with 17 and 13 points.
Lennox averages a team-high 15.8 points per game and is fourth in the conference in scoring. Lennox is the leader in the OVC for minutes played averaging 38.1 minutes per game. Brown has been big for the Panthers in rebounding as she leads the league with 8.1 rebounds per game. Freshman Zharia Lenoir had a big game last time out against Tennessee-Martin scoring a career high 18 points.
Southeast Missouri is one of the top three-point shooting team’s in the conference and the Panthers held them to 22 percent from beyond the arc last outing. Holding them to a low percentage from beyond the arc and outrebounding the Redhawks were the keys to the Panthers victory.
Southeast Missouri has the league’s No. 3 scoring offense averaging 73.2 points per game. Eastern is averaging 66.5 points per game, which is seventh in the OVC.
Southeast Missouri had two players reach double figures against Eastern in the Jan. 21 meeting. Bri Mitchell had a game high 20 points in the game along with three assists and five rebounds.
Mitchell averages 14.7 points per game and is sixth in the OVC in scoring. Laykn Gulley was the other Redhawk to reach double figures with 16 points. Dolapo Balgun was the leading rebounder with seven in the game. Eastern outrebounded Southeast Missouri 43-36. Deja Jones is a difference maker in rebounds for the Redhawks and leads the conference in offensive rebounds.
The game will start at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday at Lantz Arena following the men’s game that will begin at 1 p.m. The women will host Murray State on Wednesday Feb. 15 for their final home game of the season.
Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]