The Murray State women couldn’t overcome a big third quarter by Southeast Missouri Thursday night at the CFSB Center, as the Redhawks held on to defeat the Racers 85-74.
SEMO (7-8, 2-1 OVC) shot 80 percent (12-for-15) in the third quarter and outscored the Racers 31-14 in the period. SEMO guard Ashton Luttrull scored 14 straight points at one point for the Redhawks in the third. Luttrull ended up with 23 points on the night.
For the game, MSU (5-9, 1-2 OVC) shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the floor while the Redhawks went 34-for-60 (56.7 percent). The Racers did hit nine 3-pointers in the loss, but struggled again at the free-throw line, shooting just 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) from the stripe.
The Racers led for most of the first half, and had as large as a nine-point lead, 39-30 with 1:54 left in the first half before SEMO went on a 6-0 spurt to end the period and cut the Racer lead down to 39-36 at the break. The Redhawks then opened the second half scoring the first eight points and led 67-53 after three.
In the fourth, MSU trailed by as many as 20 points before going on a big run of its own, cutting the deficit to 78-72 with just 1:54 left to play. After a SEMO timeout however, the Redhawks went back up by 13 thanks to a 7-0 run.
Bria Bethea led the Racers with 18 points in the loss and also had three steals. Jasmine Borders and Leah Richardson scored 14 each. The 14 points are a career-best for Richardson as she hit four 3-pointers and also had three steals. Ke’Shunan James added 12 points and 10 boards for her sixth double-double of the year.
The Redhawks dominated inside, outscoring the Racers 48-20 in points in the paint. MSU had a 19-12 edge on points off turnovers as it forced 16 miscues from the Redhawks.
Saturday closes MSU’s four-game home stand to begin conference play as UT Martin comes to the CFSB Center for a 5 p.m., contest.