SEMO NOTEBOOK: Lucky clothes on Senior Day for the Southeast women's basketball team
The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team's regular-season finale Saturday doubled as Senior Day for SEMO's pair of upperclassmen -- Bri Mitchell and Olivia Hackmann.
The pair, both whom were 1,000-point scorers for the Redhawks, was honored in a pregame ceremony.
Mitchell entered the contest 13th on the school's all-time scoring list and sixth in all-time assists. She has played in 112 games for Southeast, making 58 starts.
Her 23 points in a 74-64 loss to Austin Peay are what fans have come to expect from her, though this time she walked off the floor with little to celebrate in the nervous moments that followed.
"It's kind of sad, but I was focusing on getting the 'W' to go to the tournament," Mitchell said. "So my emotions about my last game weren't really on my mind. It was about what I could do to help my team."
In the postgame press conference, Southeast coach Rekha Patterson credited Mitchell with trying "to put us on her back," even if it didn't always work. She finished 9 of 28 from the floor and 5 of 8 from the free-throw line.
"There are some times when she's trying to create when they have two people on her, and she has to find the extra person. But, like all of them, she's trying to make a play to help the team. She doesn't care if she scores, she just wants to do what she can to win."
Hackmann's day was its own kind of special just because she was able to step on the floor again.
The redshirt-senior has been out with a foot fracture, last playing on Jan. 14 at UT Martin. Her last home game came on Dec. 31 vs. Eastern Kentucky.
But as she pushed to get back before the season closed, doctor's cleared her for limited action this week, and Hackmann was given a start -- the 65th of her career -- against Austin Peay.
She fouled immediately after the tipoff and remained on the bench the rest of the way.
Hackmann is 15th on Southeast' all-time scoring list, is eighth in 3-pointers, 10th in blocks and has played in 112 games.
Dressed for success
Patterson has earned praise for her fashion on the Southeast bench on game days, but as things got anxious late in the season, she turned to a tried-and-true combination.
Although she rarely repeated outfits, on Wednesday against Murray State she pulled out a familiar number she's worn before -- a navy blue blouse with white polka dots, pink pants and tan loafers. Against the Racers, it worked.
Versus the Governors on Saturday, not so much.
"The girls started thinking it was (lucky), so, yeah, I put it on again today," Patterson said. "Clearly it wasn't the outfit.
"I tell them, 'Listen, I'm going to do whatever I have to do to get us to Nashville and get us playing hard and get us playing our best. That's all I ever ask.'"
The clothes may not have worked when the whistle blew, but after the final horn? It turned out this was Southeast's lucky day.