Women’s basketball opened the new season with a pair of victories against Robert Morris-Springfield and Evansville this week.
The team’s depth was on full display during the two games, with seven players scoring double digits.
Head Coach Rob Cross said he has been impressed so far.
“I’m excited about the aggressiveness we show offensively,” Cross said. “Everyone that can shoot it is letting it fly when they are open.”
The Racers opened the season at home with Robert Morris-Springfield Friday, cruising to a 101-44 victory. The team quickly gained a 10-3 lead in the opening minutes of the game.
Junior Keiona Kirby was the offensive spark in the first half, scoring 13 of her 25 points in the first six minutes of play.
Kirby opened the game with a pair of 3-point shots that were far behind the arc.
“In her first opportunity to be a go-to player for us, (Kirby) stepped up for us,” Cross said.
He said after the game he wasn’t concerned at all about Kirby taking shots so far behind the 3-point line.
“I’m a firm believer that you shoot in your range and for some people, they are better shooting deeper,” Cross said. “She is better off shooting wherever she thinks she is open.”
The Racers shot almost 47 percent from behind the arc with freshman Julia Fox adding four 3-pointers on the night.
“We are going to have to live and die by (3-pointers) with our team,” Cross said. “We are going to be a very good perimeter-scoring team as long as we relax.”
In the paint, senior Jessica Winfrey recorded her 13th career double-double with a 15-point, 11-rebound performance against the Eagles.
The Racers then traveled north to Evansville, Ind., for their first road game and pulled out a 62-50 victory Monday.
Murray State held the Purple Aces to just 19 percent shooting on the night and allowed only four 3-pointers on 26 attempts.
“The team did an outstanding job of paying attention to detail within the defensive game plan for the entire 40 minutes,” Cross said. “I was very impressed with the way our players moved their feet without fouling and contested shots in the half court.”
Leading 31-27 at the end of the first half, the Racers started the second half on a 9-2 run and didn’t allow the Purple Aces to make a shot until halfway through the second half.
Kirby and Edom led the team in scoring with 13 points each, while sophomore Jashae Lee scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.
Like her previous game, Winfrey pulled down 17 rebounds in the win against Evansville. Winfrey also added seven points on 3 of 10 shooting.
“Rebounding is all about desire,” Cross said. “It begins with Jessica Winfrey and her unmatched drive to go get the ball when it goes up.”
Murray State continues its road trip by taking on Western Kentucky at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Story by Tom Via, Staff writer