Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
The Racers beat the Eastern Illinois Panthers 74-71 in overtime Wednesday to bring their winning streak to four games.
The Panthers came into the game last in the OVC, 2-20, while Murray State sat 6-7 and in the No. 5 spot.
The three game winning streak for the Racers consisted of wins against Austin Peay State, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri State. SIUE and SEMO have been near the top of the conference all season and have combined for 17 conference wins this season. Austin Peay has been battling with the Racers all season for the chance to get into the OVC Tournament.
Murray State traveled to EIU looking to defeat them for the second time this season. The Racers shot 37 percent in the first half and trailed 34-31 by the end of the half. Sophomore forward and guard Ke’Shunan James scored 10 points in the half to lead the Racers. Grace Lenox, sophomore guard, led the Panthers through the first half with 10 points of her own and was followed by sophomore forward Jalisha Smith with eight points.
The third quarter was a different story for the Racers when they outscored EIU 20-10 to take a 54-41 lead entering the fourth quarter. EIU outscored the Racers 23-16 in the last quarter to tie the game up at 67. James ended regulation with 21 points and was followed by freshman forward Abria Gulledge with 12 points. Lenox finished her regulation with 23 points to lead all scorers through four quarters.
Overtime was low scoring as the Racers were able to outscore the Panthers 7-4 to win the game 74-71. James finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Gulledge followed her with 14 points, six rebounds and one assist to finish her night.
The Racers shot 39 percent for the game while EIU was able to shoot 41 percent.
Murray State will take its four game win streak on the road to Austin Peay Saturday before returning home for the final game of the season against UT Martin Feb. 27.