Women’s basketball shoots for third straight win

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s basketball team will have a chance to continue its winning streak against Murray State Wednesday night in the annual Pink Out game.

The Panthers will be closing out their three-game home stand and are trying to make it three straight wins as Murray State comes into town. Eastern has been able to get back into the win column this home stand with wins over Southeast Missouri and Austin Peay.

Head coach Debbie Black credits the defense for the winning streak.

“I think mostly when you look at the stats, we’ve held the last two teams under 60 points and that’s been our lowest point of the OVC so I think it’s really been defense,” she said. “I think our focus on defense has really helped us and that’s been kind of the biggest thing.”

They won 64-56 in their last outing against Austin Peay as they shot 52 percent in the second half to earn a second straight victory. Murray State comes into Wednesday night’s game on a winning streak of their own, which is now three games long.

The Racers of Murray State are currently 10-14 on the season and 6-7 in the OVC. They defeated Eastern earlier this season, 66-56. Senior Kyra Gulledge and sophomore Ke’Shunan James each scored 17 points in the contest. Gulledge grabbed a team-high- nine rebounds- in the game as well.

In the January matchup, Eastern was forced into 24 turnovers and shot 38.8 percent from the field for the game. They were able to hang around in the game by going 7-for-16 from behind the arc and 11-of-12 from the free-throw line.

Black reflected on the loss earlier this season.

“It was a really close game; it was a four-point game down the stretch,” she said. “I think the biggest thing is they’re playing really good basketball right now. They really have a number of players that can hurt you. They have one of the best players in the league in James, but other than that they have a number of people in their arsenal that can hurt us.”

Murray State was able to dominate inside, outscoring the Panthers 32-14 in the paint. They also had a big 21-9 edge in points off turnovers. Eastern has looked like a different team the last few games as junior guard Phylicia Johnson has been coming through late in games.

Johnson has averaged 17 points per game during the two-game winning streak. She scored 15 points last time out against Austin Peay where she had a big second half with eight points, four rebounds and two steals.

Redshirt senior Shakita Cox had a team high of 16 points against Austin Peay. She also had five rebounds and a steal in the game. Eastern is coming into the game with an overall record of 3-21 and 2-10 in conference play. All three wins this season have come at home in Lantz Arena.

The second to last home game will begin tomorrow at 6 p.m. in Lantz Arena.

 

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]