Story by Sarah Combs, Sports Editor
The Murray State women’s basketball team took the floor of the CFSB Center tonight for the second time this season to host Alabama A&M.
The Racers set the tone early with full-court pressure, rebounding and a career-high from junior guard Bria Bethea, leading them to a 81-49 win over the Bulldogs.
The Racers brought junior guard Bria Bethea as the sixth man off the bench to tag out Jasmine Borders. Bethea had a career-high game leading the Racers in scoring going 7-12 from the field, 4-7 from behind the arc and 5-7 from the free-throw line for 23 points.
Bethea started to come into her stride at the end of last year as a community college transfer when she had to sit after an injury against Eastern Kentucky and never fully recovered. This year, Bethea has made her presence known early on the court.
“That kind of threw me off a little bit,” Bethea said. “But this year I’m ready to go.”
The full-court press caused problems for the Bulldogs, resembling a 1-2-1-1 diamond press, trapping the ball and falling back into a half-court extended man from the first defensive possession.
Junior forward Ke’Shunan James led the diamond press with long arms and quick feet, producing turnovers close to the basket. James had busy hands in the press that helped speed up the tempo of the game and fatigue the Bulldogs, allowing the second string to read the passing lanes and pick off 16 turnovers that led to 23 of their points.
Taking advantage of their length and athleticism is something we can expect to see from the Racers this year, Head Coach Rob Cross said.
“That’s the way we play,” Cross said. “It will change game to game depending on the opponent. We have to be able to play other ways, but that is the makeup of our team.”
James also dipped her hand into stats across the board with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Racers travel to Southern Illinois to toe up with the Salukis at 6 p.m Thursday Nov. 17.