Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
The Racers run in the OVC Tournament came to an end Friday afternoon when they lost to Eastern Kentucky 63-52.
After an 11-2 run by EKU in the first quarter the Racers fought to close the gap the entire game. Murray State struggled to shoot the ball, and EKU defensively took sophomore forward and guard Ke’Shunan James out of the game as she scored 11 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Jasmine Borders struggled as well as she came in with 10 points and shot 2-4 from behind the arc. Senior forward Bianca Babic led the team with 13 points and 3-8 from behind the arc in her final game at Murray State. Head Coach Rob Cross said they are disappointed in the loss but he is proud of his team for the year they finished with.
“The message to these young ladies and the rest of the team is to be proud,” Cross said. “We came to this tournament, did some great things and I hate to see it end for them, our seniors, but we just didn’t make enough shots today to be honest with you.”
Babic’s family visited her in Nashville, Tennessee to see her play her final game and lead the team in scoring.
“It’s been great to have them here, especially when they came for senior night,” Babic said. “It feels like how I used to play when I was at home, when I was like 16 or 15 playing with my parents there. It was definitely more inspiring and more motivating to have them here.”
Cross said the senior left a legacy behind for the returning players and future teams to come by leaving it a better place.
“Well, the program is better right now,” Cross said. “That’s the biggest thing, on the court the program is better. They helped improve our program the last couple of years.
The team finished last in the conference two seasons ago and this year found themselves being knocked out in the OVC semifinals. It was the first time since the 2008-09 season the team has been to the semifinals.
Despite fouling out for EKU junior forward and guard Jalen O’Bannon scored 13 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward and guard Shameekia Murray picked up her game and went for 24 points, five rebounds and one assist.
James said the team will use the end of this season as confidence going into the next season.
“I think it gives us a lot of confidence,” James said. “We aren’t losing that many people.
Babic said the end of the season was a great end because no one picked the team to go this far and it felt good to prove them wrong.