Bria Bethea came off the bench to score a career-high 22 points to spark the Murray State offense as the Racers defeated Alabama A&M 81-49 Monday night at the CFSB Center. MSU starts the season 2-0 for the second consecutive season with the victory.
Bethea helped lead a Racer bench that outscored the AAMU (0-2) bench 31-6 in the contest. Bethea shot 7-of-12 from the floor and went 4-for-7 from 3-point range on the night. Abria Gulledge added 15 points and LeAsia Wright chipped in with 12. Ke’Shunan James filled up the stat sheet in the win as she scored 14, pulled down nine rebounds, dished-out a career-high eight assists and had five steals. James now sits just two points shy of becoming the 19th member of the 1,000-point club in program history.
For the game, MSU shot 45.3 percent (29-of-64) from the floor and hit nine 3-pointers while the Lady Bulldogs shot just 20-of-60 (33.3 percent from the field and didn’t make a single shot from beyond the arc, going 0-of-6 on the night. The Racers also held an edge at the charity stripe, making five more free throws.
After both teams got off to a bit of a slow start, the Racers ended the opening quarter on a 11-2 run and led 22-10 at the end of the frame. With both teams trading punches in the second period, MSU held a 43-28 lead heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, Bethea scored 14 of her points and helped the MSU lead to 70-39 after three frames as the Racers outscored AAMU in the quarter, 27-11. The Racers led from wire-to-wire in the contest.
MSU dominated most statistical categories as the Racers held a 36-22 advantage in points in the paint, a 23-6 edge in points off of turnovers and a 10-0 margin in fast break points. The Racers were also plus-four in second-chance points and outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs by 16.
The Racers now look to make it three straight victories to open the year as they hit the road for the first time in the young season on Thursday with a 6 p.m. contest against Southern Illinois. The Salukis defeated MSU at “The Bank” last season 70-57.
by Kevin DeVries

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