Southeastern stopped a four-game slide Monday night with an 83-59 win over Southern Nazarene.

It was a game the Savage Storm really needed to stay in the middle of the Great American Conference race and at least keep themselves in a position for a good seed in the postseason tournament.

SOSU coach Darin Grover was very clear as to the difference for his team in the win and in the previous four outings.

“Shots went in.”

And that’s it.  The Storm made 39.3 percent of their shots, their best shooting night since a win over Southwestern to open the new year.GAC-Matchups-SNU-SOSU

“I make that like it’s a really simple thing, but it really, truly is,” Grover said. “We did nothing different tonight on offense than we have done in the last four games, that we lost.

“We were able to knock down shots. And we had kids step up like Emily Williams, like Rachel Wallace that just knocked down shots. I know it’s truly a simple game, if you can go and do that, then you’re going to have success.

“Obviously we defended tonight, but we’ve been defending, so that’s not any different. We’ve taken pride this year in that, for the most part, we’ve been defending. But we’ve just come off four games where we just didn’t shoot the ball very well.”

Grover said it comes down to offensive execution, which can be just as much a mental thing as it is physical.

“No doubt. It’s almost gotten into the kids’ heads. It’s been the elephant in the room – talking about knocking down shots. And they just have to relax and play.”

And this kind of thing is not isolated to just Durant.

“In fact, this week I was listening to an Oklahoma State women’s basketball press conference,” Grover said. “And they were in a three-game slump a little like us. And it was literally the same talk about, ‘Hey, we don’t know why we’re missing shots. We’re coming in extra and it’s just a matter of hitting shots.’

“Well, our kids were kind of doing that same thing where they were getting discouraged. So no matter how hard they defended, they still had to get down and knock down a shot on the other end. Now part of that it that the defenses we’ve been playing are good. You have to give credit to the people we’ve played because they really good teams. But we’ve been getting open looks, tonight they fell.

Statistically, the Storm has faced tough defenses during the slump.  Harding and East Central have each held opponents to less than 60 points per game throughout the year and Arkansas Tech is third in the GAC in scoring defense, giving up only 62.2 ppg.

But against SNU the Storm made their shots and took advantage of what was given them, scoring 29 points off turnovers.

Emily Williams did her part in the “knock down shots” category with a game-high 24 points and was a perfect 12-of-12 on the free throw line.  The senior crossed a milestone on Monday night as well.

Southeastern's Emily Williams.  Photo by Dan Hoke.

Southeastern’s Emily Williams. Photo by Dan Hoke.

Williams became the 11th player in Southeastern history to reach the 1,000-point mark and now has 1,012 points in her career.  It’s a feat difficult to earn, especially playing through an thumb injury during the year.

“That’s been something that’s been plaguing her,” Grover said. “Literally on our last practice before preseason, she jammed her thumb. So she started the season and it took about two to three weeks to heal.

“Then she reinjured it here when we came back from Christmas and it seems like every few days it seems like she’s reinjuring it. So you can see it’s wrapped up. So that has affected her a little bit, but she’s a tough kid and usually is able to overcome that.”

Grover was especially appreciative of Williams ascent to the scoring plateau of 1,000 in her career.

That’s a big milestone. Only 11 players in Southeastern’s history, which has been a proud history, have passed that threshold. And obviously we are really proud that she has done that.

“There are some big names on that list – Crystal Robinson, Brandy Robinson, and somebody that I coached in Destiny Brown and a number of them. But for her to move now into No. 9 on that list is a really big accomplishment.

“And even more so, is that she’s done in less than three years, because she transferred in here after her freshman year. So that’s exciting for her and really exciting for me, as her coach.”

The Storm has just a couple of days to rest before hitting the road to Alva to take on an improving Northwestern team with another tough defense and try to keep on the winning side.  Grover there’s no easy answer to stay on that path and just making shots.

“I don’t think there’s any magic solution. I think you just go to practice every single day and continue to do the things you do.

“Now, I’m going to say that we tweaked some stuff in practice. We changed some shooting drills. We tried to make it a little more relaxed in some situations. But I don’t think there’s anything magical you can do.

“We’ll probably try to address some of that stuff as we get up to it. But you don’t want to talk about it a whole lot because then it’ll really get into their heads.

“But in the end, it’s really just about trying to execute and get as good of a shot as you possibly can. Don’t force up bad shots because that’s going to eliminate the opportunities that you have and then don’t turn it over because if you don’t turn it over then you’re going to get even more shots.”

Southeastern and Northwestern women tip at 5:30 p.m. in Percefull Fieldhouse in Alva as the first game of the doubleheader on Thursday, Jan. 29.

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