Murray State WBB Finds a Way in Win at Eastern Illinois 66-57

Murray State used a balanced attack Wednesday night in its 66-57 road victory over Eastern Illinois inside Lantz Arena, winning its third consecutive game. The Racers had four score in double figures in the win.

The Racers (15-11, 7-6 OVC) also got a pair of double-doubles in the win for the second time this season. Bria Bethea led the Racers with a team-high 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting and 4-for-8 from 3-point range. Bethea also grabbed 10 rebounds to register her second double-double of the season. Kyra Gulledge had a great all-around game for the Racers as she scored a season-best 10 points, grabbed 11 boards, had two blocks and two steals on the night.

LeAsia Wright and Abria Gulledge were the other Racers in double figures, scoring 14 and 10, respectively. Ke’Shunan James grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and was held to five points and just four field goal attempts. It was the first time this season James has failed to reach double figures.

MSU and the Panthers (8-18, 4-10 OVC) were very evenly matched for most of the game as the Racers were up 19-16 after the first quarter, and just 30-29 at halftime. The Racers were able to score 21 in the fourth and final period in order to pull away late. The Racers did lead however for most of the contest despite the close score.

Bethea scored the first seven points of the fourth for the Racers as they extended their lead to 52-45 with 7:38 left to play in the game. Leading 58-54 with 2:11 left, the Racers scored eight consecutive to push its lead to 66-54 with under a half minute to play. EIU was able to hit a last-second 3-pointer to get the final margin into single digits.

The Racers outrebounded EIU 48-39 in the game and also had a 26-22 edge in points in the paint and also had a 13-11 margin on second-chance points. Neither team shot the ball all that well in the game as the Racers shot just 34.9 percent and the Panthers shot 35.8. EIU entered Wednesday second in the OVC in team field goal percentage at nearly 41 percent.

MSU went just 5-of-20 from 3-point range while the Panthers were 5-for-19. The Racers’ biggest advantage of the night came at the free-throw line as they hit 17-of-22 at the line while EIU went just 4-of-6.

The Racers return home Saturday looking for number four in a row as they host SIU Edwardsville in a 5 p.m., contest at the CFSB Center. MSU defeated the Cougars 84-77 earlier this season in Edwardsville.

by Kevin DeVries

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