Team prepares to counter match-up problems

Mariah King went from scoring 30 points against Southeast Missouri Saturday to not scoring at all Monday against Tennessee-Martin.

“I couldn’t buy a basket,” King said.

Without King’s name in the score column, the Panthers looked to their bench for some support. Sophomore guard Jordyne Crunk answered the call.

Crunk said she has constantly been working on her three-point shot in practice. Her efforts paid off in the first half against Tennessee-Martin when she made 2-of-3 three-pointers.

Eastern head coach Brady Sallee said after Monday’s game that Tennessee-Martin probably wasn’t expecting those threes from Crunk.

Crunk scored 15 points against Tennessee-Martin and helped lead Eastern to a win over Tennessee-Martin, who then was undefeated in the Ohio Valley Conference

Crunk hopes her scoring continues when Eastern hosts Austin Peay at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Sallee said Eastern will need a lot of things from the Tennessee-Martin game to continue Saturday. He said the team needs to enhance its play.

“What I’m trying to get through to the team is that what we did against Martin should be the starting point not the end point,” Sallee said. “Now we’ve got to take that and figure out how to get better and play that much better.”

Sallee said the team made a lot of good effort plays against Tennessee-Martin, chasing loose balls to the floor, which has to continue.

Austin Peay, although with a losing record this season, presents match-up problems for Eastern, Sallee said.

Sallee said the Panthers’ defense will have to be ready to defend a good inside-out combination between Whitney Hanley and Jasmine Rayner.

“If you get too spread out (guarding Hanley), they’ll throw it in to Jasmine,” Sallee said.

Hanley is Austin Peay’s leading scorer averaging 18 points per game. Sallee said Austin Peay runs a lot of plays for her to get the ball.

“Whitney is really dangerous,” Sallee said. “It’s going to be a situation where she’s coming off screens every which way you can imagine.”

Sallee said Rayner will be a match-up problem inside for the Panthers. Rayner is the team’s No. 2 scorer.

But after an emotional win Monday over Tennessee-Martin, King and Crunk said the team is ready to go.

They have to be ready, King said, because playing Austin Peay is “a rivalry, I’d say.”

Crunk said no matter Austin Peay’s record, 5-14, she knows they will be playing their best against Eastern.

“They always come out ready to go no matter how their season is going,” Crunk said. “That’s what you have to come out and expect every year.”

The game is set to begin at 4 p.m. Saturday in Lantz Arena.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7942

or [email protected]