Though it was least expected, Austin Peay was hungry to defeat the Murray State women’s basketball team.
The Govs’ 85-72 victory over Murray State marked the team’s second win of the season against the Racers on Monday night in the CFSB Center.
“We just didn’t show up for the game,” Head Coach Rob Cross said. “Austin Peay shot it extremely well. Way better than their usual numbers.”
Led by Kayla Lowe with 33 points and four rebounds, the Racers hustled hard to keep up with a team shooting for 64.3 percent beyond the perimeter.
“Kayla finds a way to get open and make shots,” Cross said. “But it’s a team game. We have to play as a team and work together better.”
A three point shot by Lowe started the game and similar strategies of shooting beyond the perimeter on both sides of the court.
The Govs set a pace hard to compete with as they broke through a tired Racer defense. Murray State suffered offensively in the first half, shooting for 36.4 percent and 32 percent beyond the arc.
“We played pitiful defense,” Cross said. “We kept giving them their strong hand in layups and they took advantage.”
Driving it to the rim proved difficult for Burgess, who found herself under consistent triple coverage.
“They’re a very hungry team,” Cross said. “They played hard the whole game and had a big scoring presence.”
While they were ahead, Austin Peay faced early foul trouble putting Murray State in the double bonus. Governors’ centers Kaitlyn Hill and Meghan Bussabarger already earned three personal fouls before the start of the second half.
The Govs started the second half with the same success in three point shooting, forcing the Racers to hustle with a more physical defense and aggressive offense inside the perimeter led by Schwab and Burgess.
Murray State lost their focus after a short-lived burst of energy, slimming the chances of taking back the lead.
“I would say we gave about 10 minutes of effort the entire game,” Cross said. “And you just can’t do that if you want to win. You have to show up.”
Turnovers and fouls helped the Govs keep as much as a 19 point cushion early in the second half, a huge difference from their five point lead they left with at halftime.
“Austin Peay has had chances to win every game. They lose at the buzzer or in overtime, so they’re a deeper team than people think,” Cross said. “They’ve had a week to prepare for us and they came out and laid it all on the line from beginning to end.”
The Racers’ next and final game at home this season will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 16 in the CFSB Center against UT Martin.