Story by Sarah Combs, Sports Editor
The Murray State Racers enjoyed the sweet taste of payback tonight with a six-point win over Eastern Kentucky 70-64.
The Racers made history last year, becoming the only eighth seed to knock out a top ranked seed in the first round of tournament play in OVC Tournament. The momentum laxed, though, and third seed Eastern Kentucky eliminated the Racers in the semifinal game by 11 points.
Senior guard LeAsia Wright finished with 21 points and made two big shots in the final two minutes of the game, pushing the Racers ahead of the Colonels. Wright said the outcome was a lot better this season and the locker room energy was high.
“Everybody feels great,” Wright said. “Energy is high, everybody is excited and happy to actually beat them.”
Junior forward Ke’Shunan James added 21 points, along with eight rebounds and five steals.
Head Coach Rob Cross acknowledged the benefits of having a go-to player that can get into the paint and make plays.
“We are at our best when [James’] penetrating to pass and score,” Cross said. “I’m just happy she’s on our side.”
Across the roster, the Racers pulled 16 points from the bench. Sophomore forward Taylor Reese contributed five points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Cross said Reese did an outstanding job coming off the bench to relieve senior forward Kyra Gulledge and gave the Racers a rebounding presence along with contesting shots in the paint.
Junior guard Bria Bethea had 10 points with two rebounds. Sophomore forward Abria Gulledge had six points and four boards, junior guard Jasmine Borders added five points and Kyra Gulledge added two points with seven rebounds.
The Racers will take a day off tomorrow to rest and heal and will have the remainder of the week to prepare for No. 3 ranked Austin Peay State at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the CFSB Center.