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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Racers outlast Morehead State for second conference win

Freshman forward Katelyn Young puts up a shot against Morehead State. (Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics)

Jakob Milani

Staff Writer

[email protected]

Late game defense proved to be the difference maker as the Murray State Racers defeated the Morehead State Eagles 69-62.

Both teams traded baskets to start the quarter, with Morehead State going up 7-6 over the Racers with 5:26 left in the quarter. However, the Racers went on a 10-2 run over the final 4:02 to end the quarter, shooting 5-9 in that stretch. The Racers shot 7-16 in the quarter, while the Eagles shot just 4-15. Murray State’s 11 rebounds helped secure the ball, and the Racers went into the second quarter with a 16-10 lead.

The second quarter proved to be defensive for both sides, as neither team allowed much scoring for the other. Despite missing its first two shot attempts of the quarter, Murray State finished shooting 5-11 in the quarter. Morehead State shot just 3-15 in the quarter, yet shot 6-8 from the free throw line thanks to some foul trouble from the Racers. Even though the Racers shot a poor 3-10 from the line in the quarter, Murray State led going into half by a score of 29-23.

At halftime, freshman forward Katelyn Young led the Racers with eight points and nine rebounds, shooting 4-5 from the field. Junior guard Macey Turley and senior forward Laci Hawthorne both scored six points in the half. Turley led the team with four assists and Hawthorne grabbed seven rebounds in the half.

The Eagles were led by senior guard Tyler Moore with six points, both coming from 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Ariel Kirkwood and junior forward Ellie Jo Johnson each finished the half with four points and five rebounds. Kirkwood also had three assists.

In the third quarter, the Eagles shot very well, shooting 5-11 from three point range and 8-16 from the field, making four of their first five attempts in the first 4 minutes. Murray State struggled from the field, shooting 6-15, including two 3-pointers. With 48 seconds left in the quarter, the Eagles brought themselves to within one at 47-46, but a layup by freshman guard Bria Sanders-Woods with 27 seconds left helped boost the Racers. A block by Sanders-Woods with two seconds left allowed the Racers to maintain a 49-46 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Morehead State came out after the break continuing where they left off, making three of its first four shot attempts, including a three pointer from Moore. Thanks to another three pointer from Moore just three minutes later, the Eagles took their first lead since the first quarter, going up 58-56 with 4:53 left to play. Coming out of a media timeout, the Racers strapped in and denied the Eagles from scoring a field goal for the next 4:07, scoring 11 points in that stretch. Murray State held the lead till the end, winning by a score of 69-62.

The Racers were led to victory by Turley, who finished the game with 17 points and eight assists. Turley shot 5-9 from the field and 7-7 from the free-throw line. Young finished with eight points and 14 rebounds. Sanders-Woods finished with eight points and two assists.

Hawthorne finished the game with 15 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 5-8 from the field. She talked postgame about her and the team’s plans coming into the game. 

“Mainly to crash the boards because that’s really what gets me going,” Hawthorne said. “We knew they were athletic and big so we knew we had to be physical with them and outrebound them. I feel like we didn’t give them second-chance points very much, so I felt like that helped us a lot.”

Junior guard Manna Mensah finished with 11 points, shooting 4-7 from the field and 3-3 from the free throw line, including important free throws late in the fourth quarter. She spoke after the game about her mindset before the game, as well as the team’s gameplan. 

“I was just focusing on what I do best,” Mensah said. “Just trying to attack the paint, feed the ball to my teammates and try to get open shots and just get to my spot. Not really forcing, just letting the ball get to me and help get the win. We knew we had to attack Morehead from the jump, get some of them in foul trouble, just attacking and getting to the free throw line always helps win games.”

Head Coach Rechelle Turner spoke after the game about the game plan for Morehead State

“Well, coming into the game, all of the film we watched and scouting we did said they want paint points, they want transition points, they want points off turnovers and offensive rebounds, so our game plan was to pack it in and make them make shots,” Turner said. 

Turner also spoke about the team’s decisions in the final four minutes of the game.

“And then at that point, we switched defenses. I knew at that point they had made too many shots, they were feeling it and we weren’t getting to shooters, so at that time is when we switched over to man. The kids did a good job in those first couple of possessions. We fouled too much, but we really locked in and played defense. The biggest key in the last four and a half minutes is that they didn’t get second chance opportunities. It was one and done.”

Murray State improves to 5-4 on the season and picks up its second conference win. The Racers are back on the road for their next game when they take on SEMO. The game will be on Thursday, Jan 14, at 5 p.m.

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