Despite two career-high performances from its forwards, women’s basketball was unable to finish the season with a victory on the road at Southeast Missouri State Saturday.
Playing in her final game as a Racer, senior forward Jessica Winfrey pulled down 20 rebounds and put up a career-high 22 points in the 65-57 loss.
Junior forward Netanya Jackson also turned in a career-high performance with 17 points off the bench.
“To see Jessica have her second 20-20 game in a matter of weeks makes me really proud of how she finished off her career,” said Head Coach Rob Cross.
Facing the Redhawks for the second time in 10 days, the Racers’ offense struggled and depended on free throws to keep them in the game.
Murray State grabbed the early lead but couldn’t contain the Redhawks, who went on a 10-0 run in the opening minutes.
“We couldn’t score for a few stretches, and they took advantage of it to grab that early lead,” Cross said.
After a basket by freshman guard Taylor Porter made it 18-12, the Racers turned to Jackson for a spark off the bench.
Jackson took over, scoring 10 straight points, including her first 3-pointer of the season, to give the Racers the lead.
Murray State used the free throw line late in the opening half to take a 34-30 lead into the locker room.
“We always want to get to the free throw line,” Cross said. “When you get to the line, you get a chance to score, along with a chance for rest.”
The second half allowed the Racers push their lead to 43-34 before the Redhawks rallied. SEMO used a 15-5 run with 12 minutes remaining to regain the lead while the Racers struggled to score.
“We came out in the second half with great effort and the girls didn’t quit,” Cross said. “Fatigue just got to us.”
A 3-pointer by sophomore forward Jashae Lee with 11 minutes remaining was the last field goal the Racers made.
With baskets not falling for the Racers, the Redhawks finished the game on a 16-4 run over the final nine minutes.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well enough to win the game,” Cross said. “I think playing all these games late in the season took its toll on us.”
Despite the loss, the Racers shot a season-high 88 percent from the free throw line, making 22 shots.
Winfrey earned her 21st double-double in the last game of her career, leaving her tied for fourth place all-time in Murray State history.
Story by Tom Via, Staff writer