Coming off their first win last week against Evansville, the Racers brought the same energy and momentum in the CFSB Center tonight with a win against the Mid Continent University Cougars breaking into the three-digit scoring zone with a final score of 103-48.
Keeping a similar setup, this game’s starters featured guards Erica Burgess, Mallory Schwab and Allison Karst as well as forwards Kyra Watson and Ashleigh McBean.
Schwab put up the first points on the board with a layup rebounded from mid court.
The Racers kept a quick tempo which left the Cougars lagging in the first half. This gave shooting opportunities to the quick guard Keiona Kirby, who drove the ball with no coverage.
The first personal foul of the game was committed on forward and center Chanyere Hosey, making one of two shots at the free throw line.
The Cougar’s strategy included emphasis on the three point line but forced turnovers with poor passing. With just 15 minutes left in the first half, the Cougars racked up seven turnovers to the Racers.
With the Racer’s fast paced strategy, new waves of players were introduced, making the quick offense and alert defense on a constant high.
Forward Kayla Lowe made her first half debut with a flawless three point shot with 11:40 left to go. On the defensive side on the ball, Lowe was a formidable opponent in maintaining a nearly impenetrable distance from the goal. Alongside Lowe was Elkins with three defensive rebounds in the first half.
The Racers had the final say of the first half with a three point shot made by Schwab with 20 seconds left to go. The score was left at 55-15 in favor of Murray State.
The first half featured a dramatic increase in three point shots attempted by the Racers, resulting in 41.7% attempts made. Three point leaders included Burgess, Karst and Lowe with two shots made each.
Though their shots were consistent and plenty, the Racers were high in technical fouls with 55 under their belt followed by the Cougars with 15.
The shooting accuracy of the Cougars suffered with a mere 16% in made field goal attempts and 22.2% in made three point shot attempts. The three point leader for the Cougars was guard Asia Grigsby with two of four attempts made.
On the defensive side of the Cougar’s game, forward Stephanie Malone earned 10 overall rebounds in the first half. Following Malone were Racers McBean and Elkins with four rebounds each. Murray State totaled 16 steals, followed by Mid Continent with five.
The second half began with Elkins missing a layup attempt which was turned over to the Cougars. The ball was promptly given back to Murray State when Stephanie Malone committed the first technical foul.
First to the line was Mid Continent forward Chantiera Johnson, making both free throw shots. Guard Asia Grigsby gave momentum to the Cougars with a three point shot at side court.
Elkins carried over her agility to the second half with precise rebounding, quick layups and outrunning her defender, guard Shanice Martin.
Restoring hope in field goal shots for Mid Continent was Johnson with powerful drives to the basket, including a layup with 15 minutes to go. A personal foul by Elkins put Johnson to the line a second time, making one of two free throws.
Karst restored confidence in the three point offense with a sinker at 11 minutes left in the game. Burgess warmed up the Racer’s lacking layup attempts with a drive to the basket at 7:25.
Mid Continent’s Shanice Martin made her first field goal of the second half with 5:17 left to go, assisted by Johnson.
Elkins found herself at the free throw line twice in the second half by a personal foul committed by Johnson. She made three of four attempts.
A personal foul by Elkins put the game into the bonus with Malone at the free throw line. The attempt was lost and recovered by Mid Continent.
With 2:04 left in the game, Kirby earned herself an and-one as well as the made free throw. The foul was committed by Mid Continent forward and center Heather Jones.
Putting the second half to rest was forward and guard Allison West with two made free throws with 6.3 seconds left in the game.
The Racers finished the game with a consistent 44.4 percent in field goal shots, 38.5 percent in three point shots and a dramatic increase in free throw shots made from 37.5 percent in the first half to 66.7 percent in the second half.
Overall, Karst said the fast tempo of the Racers is a strategy that is here to stay.
”We work at playing fast-paced every day, and it’s good to see that we’re doing that a little bit more,” she said.
With 81 overall shot attempts in the game, Karst said the confidence in the team’s shooting ability as risen.
“It’s nice to know that coach has that trust and confidence in our abilities,” she said. “We all take shots.”
This increase in shooting led to three point shot success, guard Tessa Elkins said.
“I felt we were all making three pointers,” she said. “Schwab had a few of her own too. I just felt like I knew I could make it as soon as I shot it.”
Head Coach Rob Cross said he was thrilled to see the improvement in shots and free throws.
“The way we shot it is what we see in practice every day,” he said. “We’ve got to be more disciplined and eliminate the turnovers though.”
With the constant subbing of players, Cross said he is confident in the shooting depth of the players.
“Not all the players have their three point license yet, but the girls are doing well in taking shot opportunities,” he said. “We usually try to shoot if we can see the rim in clear sight.”
The Racers’ next game will be at noon this Saturday in Muncie, Ind., against Ball State.