The Murray State women came out in the second half and dominated Monday night in Greensboro, N.C., as the Racers defeated UNCG 63-52. MSU outscored the Spartans 39-17 in the second half and held UNCG to a 31 percent shooting percentage in the final two quarters.
Trailing 35-24 at halftime, a 15-2 run towards the beginning of the third quarter gave MSU (3-6) its first lead since 9:16 left in the second quarter at 40-39 with just over three minutes left in the period. The Racers outscored the Spartans (4-6) 17-6 the final 8:33 of the quarter and trailed by just one, 43-42 after three.
To start the fourth, it was more of the same from the Racers as they opened the final stanza on a 9-2 run and led 51-45 with 6:39 left to play. MSU also closed the final 2:20 on an 8-0 run to win its first road game of the season.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, but in the second quarter, MSU ended the final 5:45 of the first half without a field goal and only had two free throws during that stretch and trailed by 11 at the break.
For the game, the Racers shot 43.5 percent (20-for-46) from the floor while the Spartans shot 38.3 percent (23-for-60). MSU shot 57 percent overall in the second half and went 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) in the fourth.
The Racers were able to salt the game away down the stretch thanks to a 6-for-6 mark at the free-throw line. For the game, MSU went 19-of-24 at the line while UNCG was just 2-for-5. MSU also had a big advantage in points off turnovers, outscoring the Spartans 22-8 in that category. MSU forced 19 UNCG turnovers.
UNCG outscored the Racers 32-26 in paint points and had a 14-0 edge in second-chance points as it outrebounded the Racers 37-27. Both teams only made four 3-pointers in the contest.
Bria Bethea led all scorers with 18 points off the bench. Bethea also added a team-high eight rebounds and three assists while also recording a steal and a block. Janika Griffith-Wallace was the other Racer in double figures as she scored 10. Griffith-Wallace had an all-around solid game for MSU, shooting 4-of-6 at the floor and notching two steals.
Jasmine Borders and Abria Gulledge chipped in with nine points each while Ke’Shunan James added eight.
MSU is now off again for another week and will return to action December 18 as Mississippi Valley State comes to Murray for a 6 p.m., contest.
by Kevin DeVries