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Eastern wanting win in pivotal OVC week, visit Murray State Thursday

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Eastern wanting win in pivotal OVC week, visit Murray State Thursday

Analicia Haynes | The Daily Eastern News
Eastern redshirt-senior Grace Lennox drives the lane in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over Murray State on Jan. 17. The Panthers will meet Murray State on the road Thursday.

Analicia Haynes | The Daily Eastern News Eastern redshirt-senior Grace Lennox drives the lane in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over Murray State on Jan. 17. The Panthers will meet Murray State on the road Thursday.

Analicia Haynes | The Daily Eastern News Eastern redshirt-senior Grace Lennox drives the lane in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over Murray State on Jan. 17. The Panthers will meet Murray State on the road Thursday.

Analicia Haynes | The Daily Eastern News Eastern redshirt-senior Grace Lennox drives the lane in the Panthers’ 75-67 win over Murray State on Jan. 17. The Panthers will meet Murray State on the road Thursday.

JJ Bullock, Sports Editor

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The Eastern women’s basketball team is 0-9 on the road this season.

Let that number sink in for a second before being told Eastern is 3-7 in conference play, in desperate need of wins to stay in the tournament picture and has two road games coming up this week.

Eastern travels to play Murray State (3-7) on Thursday and Austin Peay (5-5) on Saturday. Both games will have huge conference tournament implications for all three teams.

“I think it’s huge (to get a win),” said Eastern head coach Matt Bollant. “Obviously the tiebreaker makes it big. Both of us (Murray State and Eastern) are at three wins, and it’s going to take probably seven or eight to get in the conference tournament, so it’s really a big deal for both teams.”

It is looking more and more like a reality that Eastern will have to win at least one of these games to stay relevant in tournament discussions.

A win in both games would be ideal for the Panthers, who would have their record bumped to 5-7 and would likely put them back in the top eight in the conference.

A loss in both games and quite frankly Eastern’s season would be rendered all but over. If Eastern were to fall to 3-9, with Belmont and Tennessee Tech remaining on its schedule, it would be hard pressed to even dream Eastern into the conference tournament at that point.

Bollant and his team recognize that not getting at least one win this week is likely a deal breaker.

“Obviously get (a win) or sweep at home,” Bollant said. “At this point in the year every game is getting more important, and we have to find a way to get a road win on Thursday.”

That makes Eastern’s Thursday matchup with Murray State all the more pivotal.

There is not a more perfect time for Eastern to get its first road win than Thursday against another 3-7 conference team that the Panthers have beaten once already this season.

“Just playing how we’re capable of playing,” Bollant said is what it will take to get a win on Thursday. “Playing good for four quarters, not having a one-quarter lapse and playing at a high level defensively and being able to execute at the offensive end as well.”

Knowing that Eastern beat Murray State once already will give the team an added dose of confidence headed into Thursday Bollant said.

But the Panthers also know that Murray State will be playing with an “edge” and will be ready to go on its home court.

Bollant said the team had a good practice this week and that senior guard Grace Lennox is especially ready to get the team its first road win of the season.

Eastern and Murray State tip-off at 5 p.m. Thursday.

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

About the Writer
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...

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Eastern wanting win in pivotal OVC week, visit Murray State Thursday