After a week on the road the women’s basketball team played at home Thursday earning a 78-64 win over the Saint Louis Billikens. This was their first win against the Billikens, who they played last week on the road. The win added to their overall record of 3-5.
The starting bench for the Racers featured guards sophomore Erica Burgess, junior Mariah Robinson, senior Mallory Schwab, senior forward/center Kayla Lowe and junior forward Kyra Watson.
Saint Louis forward/center Kim Bee gave the ball to the Billikens at tipoff. The first points of the game were made by Saint Louis’ Courtney Webb with a three point shot at 1:45 of play. Watson was the first to put Murray State on the board with a field goal.
Both teams featured a quick tempo playing style with lots of hustle. However, the Racers trailed heavily in the first half in their shooting accuracy. Within the first five minutes of the first half, Saint Louis was up by eight with a score of 4-12.
The first half featured a low shooting percentage for both teams with Murray State shooting 42.5 percent and Saint Louis only shooting 32.3 percent. Point leader for the Racers was Burgess with eight points from four field goals. Robinson dominated the defensive side of the ball with five rebounds.
The Racers racked up 22 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
“We got momentum off our defense,” Robinson said. “We were pretty good in transition layups.”
Erica Burgess scored her first points of the game with 14:50 left in the first half and is the scoring leader for Murray State, averaging 15 points per game.
The Racers regained momentum as well as the lead with 12:55 left in the first half, thanks to an and-one earned by junior guard Tessa Elkins. Elkins made the Racer’s first free throw of the game putting the score at 14-12.
Lowe made her first three point shot out of three attempts when she sank one from the arc with 13:18 of play.
The Racers put a close to the first half with a final three point shot by Elkins, putting the score at 39-30 Racers.
The second half started with personal foul made by Kyra Watson within 16 seconds of play, putting guard Lorreal Jones to the line.
A three point shot made by Lowe put the Racers at their first points of the second half, and it only went uphill from there with a layup made by Burgess and Watson, giving Murray State a 3-0 run.
After Eggert was bombarded by three Racers in an all-out brawl for the rebound, a personal foul was given to a laughing Elkins, putting her at her third personal foul of the second half with 15:20 left to go.
Saint Louis was put into the bonus after a personal foul committed by Burgess at 13:58.
The Racers, well into foul trouble, gave Saint Louis countless one-way tickets to the free throw line and chances to earn an offensive gain. In the final 10 minutes of the game, the Racers’ lead decreased to only five points.
“We just had to be disciplined on defense,” Burgess said. “So we were just trying to make stops one at a time. We were aggressive on offense.”
By the time 8:57 was left on the clock, a fourth personal foul by Schwab put Saint Louis into the double bonus.
The last five minutes featured a flustered Saint Louis team under a full court press, riddled with missed shots and nine personal fouls that put Murray State into the bonus.
The game was put to a close with the ball in the Racers’ possession with a final score of 78-64.
Murray State racked up a total of 45 rebounds, 78 technical fouls, two blocks and a 38.6 percent in field goal attempts. Point leader for the Racers was Burgess with 16 points off of eight field goals. Robinson was the defensive leader with nine rebounds, followed by Lowe with seven.
“We’re excited to come back home,” Cross said. “We had a better energy than our last couple of games. We forced 20 turnovers tonight. We did an outstanding job of mixing things up this game.”
The Racers’ next game will be against Evansville at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 in Evansville, Ind.