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Eastern women’s basketball team wins second OVC game

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Eastern women’s basketball team wins second OVC game

Eastern guard Karle Pace (11) plays defense on a Murray State ball handler in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over the Racers on Thursday in Lantz Arena. Pace had a game-high 23 points in the win.

Eastern guard Karle Pace (11) plays defense on a Murray State ball handler in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over the Racers on Thursday in Lantz Arena. Pace had a game-high 23 points in the win.

Analicia Haynes

Eastern guard Karle Pace (11) plays defense on a Murray State ball handler in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over the Racers on Thursday in Lantz Arena. Pace had a game-high 23 points in the win.

Analicia Haynes

Analicia Haynes

Eastern guard Karle Pace (11) plays defense on a Murray State ball handler in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over the Racers on Thursday in Lantz Arena. Pace had a game-high 23 points in the win.

JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

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In the third quarter of Eastern and Murray State’s game Thursday in Lantz Arena, the Racers took their first lead of the game at 51-50 with 2:30 remaining in the quarter. With the remnants of a third quarter collapse last Thursday still in Eastern’s head, things started to look all too familiar, until sophomore guard Karle Pace stepped in and changed that. 

Pace went on a six-point run after Murray State took the lead, scoring six of her game-high 23 points in 1:41 to keep Eastern in the game and eventually lead her team to a 75-67 conference victory. 

When Eastern collapsed in the third quarter last Thursday in a loss to Jacksonville State, head coach Matt Bollant cited the absence of Pace from that game as one of the reasons the quarter spiraled out of control. But, with Pace back in the lineup on Thursday, she was able to corral Eastern when things got tough in the quarter to help them hold on for the team’s second conference win of the season. 

“Keep our composure and really try and get layups,” Pace said is the key for the team in third quarters. “Good shots and mostly layups.”

Pace had two layups at the end of the quarter and finished it with two made free throws. The Panthers entered the third quarter with a 44-32 lead and eventually lost that lead, thanks to being outscored by Murray State 24-12. But Pace and a new composure from the team kept the quarter from being the team’s demise once again. 

“Overall, I think we will be a good third quarter team,” Bollant said. “But I think one thing is to just keep playing basketball and quit looking at the scoreboard and I think Jacksonville State and probably today, we were looking at the scoreboard like ‘oh my gosh, this is not going well’, but just keep playing.”

Eastern was without both its starting forwards Grace McRae and Jennifer Nehls, both out with injuries, in the game, which forced freshman Abby Wahl into the lineup with the tall task of dealing with Murray State’s most dangerous player in forward Evelyn Adebayo. 

Adebayo still picked up her typical double-double with 12 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, but with Wahl sticking tight to her most of the game, the Panthers were able to force Adebayo into committing a game-high seven turnovers as well. 

While Wahl’s line itself does not look very impressive at five points and three rebounds, her presence on Adebayo changed the game. Murray State committed 23 total turnovers to just 13 by Eastern, which gave the Panthers 26 points. 

“(Coach Bollant) said all week, just don’t let her get the ball, just try your best to keep her behind you, just push her down and we knew the guards were coming, so just having trust in our guards helped,” Wahl said. 

Carmen Tellez continues to show she is a different player this season after struggling a season ago; she scored 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting. Fellow senior Grace Lennox, 16 points and four rebounds. 

“I thought Carmen played a really good first half, and Grace (Lennox) was really big in the second half,” Bollant said.

The win pushed Eastern to 2-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference and gave the Panthers a win over a team they felt they should be able to beat if they want to be playing in the conference tournament at the end of the season. 

“Its a big step, obviously, now we’re both 2-3 and we got the head to head with them, and now we have Austin Peay on Saturday, and that will be another big one,” Bollant said. “These are games, especially at home, you have to defend your home court.”

Eastern plays Austin Peay Saturday at 1 p.m. in Lantz Arena. 

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

About the Contributors
JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

Hey, I'm JJ Bullock and I am the Sports Editor. I am a junior journalism major. I spent last year as the Assistant Sports Editor. Prior to that I served...

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

Hello!

My name is Analicia Carmen Haynes and I’m the Editor-in-Chief of this spectacular newspaper. I am a senior journalism major (praying to God...

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Eastern women’s basketball team wins second OVC game