Racers blow big lead to UT Martin

Photo by Bryan Edwards/TheNews

Story by Gage Johnson, Staff writer

Murray State traveled to UT Martin Saturday, but a lackadaisical second half allowed the Skyhawks to win 87-65.

The Racers got off to an fast start out of the gate.  Murray State owned an 18-point lead after the first quarter.  However, an offensive outburst from the Skyhawks put the two teams in a tight race for the lead throughout the second half. Murray State ended the first half shooting an impressive 57 percent from the field, while going 6-for-11 from beyond the arch. The Racers were led in scoring in the half by senior forward Bria Bethea with 16 points, one less than her average per game.  

The Skyhawks shot 51.7 percent from the field, while going 3-for-9 from the three-point line, and 8-for-8 from the strike.  They had two players in double figures in sophomore guard Kendall Spray with 11, and senior forward Janekia Mason with 10.  The two teams ended the half tied at 41.

For the second game in a row, Murray State did not have the same success shooting in the second half. The Racers came out and shot 10-for-30 from the field, 2-for-13 from the three-point line. Murray State did not have a single player register double figures in the second half.

“Part of our problem is that we don’t have depth,” said Head Coach Rechelle Turner.  “So our kids get tired.  That’s not an excuse, but they give everything have.  So sometimes late in the game the shots don’t fall because of tired legs.”

UT Martin managed to keep up their pace of play from the first half.  This was in large part due to Spray, who scored 23 points in the second half.  Murray State only scored three more points in the second half than Spray alone.

“She’s just unconscious,” said Turner. “She’s so good. She’s so smart, she’s so crafty. I’m not sure if I wasn’t coaching that I wouldn’t just follow her around and watch her play. She’s very difficult to defend.”

The Skyhawks had another double figure contributor in freshman forward Chelsey Perry, who had ten in the half.  This led to shooting 16-for-30 from the field and going 7-for-13 from three. The consistent play from UT Martin allowed them to walk away with the win in blowout form, 87-65.

Having lost both games on their short two game road stint, Murray State will head back home for a game and take on OVC rival Austin Peay.  They play at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, at the CFSB Center.