Tonight was a night of opportunities for the Racers as they went into their first game at the CFSB Center with a 76-61 win against Evansville.
The starting lineup featured guard Erica Burgess, guard Mariah Robinson, guard Mallory Schwab, forward Kyra Watson and forward Ashleigh McBean under Head Coach Rob Cross.
Tipoff was in favor of Evansville, with a strong penetrative offense led by guard/forward Briyana Blair. The Racers chose to play with a fast tempo, frazzling Evansville to commit four turnovers within the first five minutes of play.
Lowe scored the first three points of the game with a side-court layup and a made free throw. Substituting McBean, Lowe also made the first three-point shot of the game under double coverage.
Making Evansville’s first three-point shot of the night was guard Staci Gillum.
Having the final say of the first half was Robinson making a field goal with 13 seconds left. The score was left with Murray in the lead at 39-28
Both teams suffered in field-goal accuracy in the first half with Murray State shooting for 36.6 percent and Evansville shooting 32 percent.
With the Racers racking up 39 technical fouls and nine personal fouls, the first half went well into the bonus.
Dominating the first half with two point offense was Robinson with five field goals. Next to Robinson was Lowe, making three of six three-point attempts.
Evansville took advantage of free throw attempts, making 81.8%. Following a tough act, the Racers only shot for 36.4% in free throws.
With Murray State snagging the tipoff, Schwab started the second half with an impressive and-one on a three point attempt, making the three-point shot along with the free throw.
Evansville’s choppy ball handling led to a deadball rebound taken swiftly by guard Tessa Elkins, taking it to the hoop with no coverage.
With seven technical fouls made by the Racers in the second half, Evansville was put in the bonus with 8:59 left to go.
Burgess led both teams with eight assists and three turnovers in the heat of the second half.
On the defensive side of the ball, Elkins led the game racking up five steals. Following her was forward Kyra Watson with four steals under her belt.
With the pressure of the final two minutes before the buzzer, Robinson took and made a final three-point shot with 1:33 left in the game.
The game ended with the ball in Burgess’ possession. The Racers improved their free throw percentage, ending with 46.7 percent as well as forcing 31 turnovers with 16 at the half. The team left with an impressive 17 offensive rebounds.
The poor shooting accuracy carried over the entire game with the Racers making 30-82 free throws, 9-35 three point attempts and 7-15 free throws.
“Tonight we started really well on defense,” Robinson said. “We weren’t sinking them all at first, but our defensive intensity was really good. The defense carried us through the whole game.”
Burgess said she wants to see more consistency in playing speed.
“We go a little slow at first,” she said, “and we had an off shooting night, but it was an overall good game.”
This being her first game as a Racer, Burgess was excited and happy with the turnout of the game, she said.
Cross said he also is impressed with the defense and press the girls had.
“Our press kept up the defensive intensity,” he said. “That’s what we need to see more of.”
This season the team has high levels of effort and heart put into the game, he said.
“I can honestly say that there isn’t one player who hasn’t given it their all,” Cross said. “It’s been a pleasure. They leave everything outside of the gym, and come to practice and do hard work.”
The Racers next game will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 in Bloomington, Ind., against Indiana University.