Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
The women’s basketball team has a 6-7 OVC record and are tied with Austin Peay State for sixth place as of Feb. 16.
The Racers put a few wins together riding a three-game win streak, which is the first of the season. Head Coach Rob Cross said the success has come due to the energy and focus his team has recently found.
“Right now we just have a lot of confidence and we are playing with belief,” Cross said. “And that means a lot.”
During the three-game winning streak, the Racers have come away with two huge victories against teams who have been higher than them in the standings all season, Southeast Missouri State and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
The Racers were able to defeat SEMO Saturday 80-61 after losing by 37 points just 10 days before. The Redhawks shot 12-19 from behind the arc in the first game and just 1-9 in the second game.
SEMO’s sophomore guard Hannah Noe scored 22 points at SEMO, but the Racers were able to hold her to just four points in the game at Murray State.
Cross said the team showed up and responded well to the 37 point loss.
“Our team, obviously, was a lot more locked in, and to be honest with you, our players felt like they needed to redeem themselves,” Cross said.
The Racers lost a close game to SIUE 64-61 on Jan. 23 at home. Another close game between these teams took place on Feb. 10 at SIUE when the Racers came away with the 79-76 victory.
Sophomore forward and guard Ke’Shunan James led the charge for Murray State with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman forward Abria Gulledge scored 12 points, four assists and one steal during the game. This was the third road win of the season and the only road win the Racers have in the OVC.
Cross was happy with how his team came out and played against the team picked to win the OVC.
“We had a good week, got our first conference road victory, which was huge,” Cross said. “You know against one of the teams that was picked to win the league at the begging of the year and is up there battling it out right now with UT Martin and Belmont for the league title. The thing was, they made their runs. Shronda Butts is a phenomenal player.”
James took home her third OVC Player of the Week on Tuesday, but she had some company as Gulledge took home Freshman of the Week honors as well.
The Racers will play Saturday at Austin Peay State in a rematch of their 75-72 win Feb. 6. They will then return home for the final game of the regular season against UT Martin Feb. 27.