Racers struggle on the boards

Kelli O'Toole

Story by Blake Sandlin, Staff writer

Murray State women’s basketball team (15-12) faced off against conference opponent SIUE (13-12) but fell short 85-76.

Murray State grabbed 27 rebounds compared to SIUE’s 50 team rebounds. The Cougars grabbed 19 offensive rebounds to the Racer’s five.

Murray State Head Coach Rob Cross said before the game, his team’s success was dependent on whether they would be able to rebound the basketball.

“If [we] out-rebound them, we’re going to win the game,” Cross said. “We can talk about all of our other keys to victory and what we need to do on offense and defense and all of that stuff, but none of that matters if we don’t rebound the basketball.”

The Racers’ rebounding struggles allowed the Cougars to score 24 second-chance points as a result.

Junior guard Ke’Shunan James led the Racers in scoring with 28 points and five steals. Junior guard Bria Bethea also added 18 points of her own and 10 rebounds. Bethea’s performance on the night was enough to earn her second-straight double-double.

SIUE had four players in double figures Saturday night but were led by the play of sophomore guard Nakiah Bell, who scored 23 points. Junior guards Lauren White and Donshel Beck both had 18 points. Sophomore center Sydney Bauman led the team with 11 rebounds, while also scoring seven points.

Cross said, in regards to his team’s failure to rebound, they need to be resilient with postseason play drawing closer.

“We just have to be tougher,” Cross said. “We took a step back in that area, but this team took advantage of it. We’ve got to understand, especially at this time of year, we talk about every game is a tournament game in this league.”

The Racers will test that toughness when they take the court against Southeast Missouri State at 6 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 22 at the CFSB Center for senior night on their final home game of the year.