Women’s basketball opened conference play with an 86-72 loss to Eastern Kentucky Monday night in Richmond, Ky.
The OVC-opener matched the conference’s top two teams according to winning percentage thus far. The game was full of scoring runs by both teams, but the Racers came on the wrong end after numerous droughts with no points.
After scoring the first two points of the game, Murray State allowed the Lady Colonels to go on an 8-0 run in the opening minutes. The Racers fought back to tie the game at 20 as freshman guard Taylor Porter drained a pull-up 3 with 12 minutes left in the first half.
With the game tied, Eastern Kentucky used a 14-6 run led by Marie Carpenter to retake the lead 34-26. The Racers and Colonels traded baskets the remainder of the half, which ended with the Colonels taking a 46-38 lead into the locker room.
The second half was all about scoring runs by both teams and opened with the Colonels extending their lead as Murray State ran into foul trouble. Ahead by six, Eastern Kentucky used an 11-3 run to extend the lead to double-digits with 15 minutes remaining. Murray State battled back with a 14-2 run of their own, as Kirby and Porter hit back-to-back 3’s to pull within two points of the opposition.
With the Racers mounting a comeback, once again the Colonels used a 16-2 run to push their lead back to more than 10 points with four minutes remaining.
Kirby led the team with 21 points and two steals in the loss, while senior forward Jessica Winfrey recorded her fifth double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Freshman guards Nikia Edom and Taylor Porter rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Racers.
Murray State has a chance to rebound against defending three-time OVC champions UT Martin at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Racers’ OVC home opener.