Panthers grab road win in rematch against Murray State, prepare to host SEMO


Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Lariah Washington defends Murray State forward Hannah McKay in Eastern’s game against Murray State on Jan. 17 in Lantz Arena. Washington had seven points and six rebounds in the game, which Eastern lost 80-71.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

Just three days after losing to Murray State at home, the Eastern women’s basketball team responded Thursday against the Racers on the road to snap a three-game conference losing streak with a 71-64 overtime win.

Eastern is now 2-3 in OVC play while Murray State falls to 4-3.

The Panthers did not trail for the entire first half, but a late run in the second quarter from Murray State cut the Panther lead to just one point entering halftime. The Racers then took their first lead of the game less than a minute into the second half, and extended their lead to a game-high seven points early in the fourth quarter.

Eastern closed the gap, and in fact led by four points with just 28 seconds remaining. Murray State layups from forwards Hannah McKay and Katelyn Young, the latter with just 3 seconds left sent the game to overtime.

The Panther defense held Murray State to just 2-of-9 shooting in overtime, including 0-of-5 from three-point range. In turn, Eastern shot four-of-eight from the field and two-of-three from three to win 71-64.

The Eastern defense held Murray State to 8.5 points below their season average entering the game, despite the extra period. The Racers came into Thursday’s game as the OVC’s top-scoring team. The Panthers also held the Racers 29.9 percent from the field and 16 percent from three. Murray State entered the game shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from three, both ranking first in the OVC.

In Monday’s game, the Racers shot 57.7 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from three, scoring 80 points.

Eastern shot 47.5 percent from the field, boosted by a first quarter in which they shot 8-of-12, helping to offset a 3-of-13 second quarter in which they scored just eight points.

The Panthers attempted nearly half as many three pointers as Murray State but made one more than their opponents, shooting 5-of-13 from deep.

Freshman guard Julia Bengston jumpstarted the offense for the second-straight game Thursday, scoring the first eight points for the Panthers after scoring nine of the first 14 points for the Panthers Monday. She finished with a team-high 16 points and also led the team with five steals.

Senior guard Kira Arthofer continued to fill up the stat sheet with 13 points, four steals and collecting team highs with 11 rebounds and five assists. She missed a pair of free throws late in regulation that allowed Murray State to tie the game and send it to overtime, but she responded in OT with three points, a steal, a rebound and two assists that led to five points from Lariah Washingtonm who scored 15 points and had eight rebounds in the game.

Senior forward Abby Wahl scored 14 points, 10 of which came after halftime.

Each of the Panthers’ last four games have been against teams in the top half of the OVC standings, and up next will be a bit of reprieve with a home game against last-place Southeast Missouri on Saturday.

The Redhawks are 0-7 to start conference season and have lost eight in a row overall. They rank eight in the conference in scoring offense and ninth in scoring defense.

They have a pair of guards averaging double figures in scoring this season in Roshala Scott and Deanay Watson. Scott is averaging 11.3 points per game and Watson is averaging 11.2, ranking 16th and 17th in the conference respectively. Watson ranks third in the OVC in field goal percentage, shooting 57.2 percent.

Eastern won both matchups with Southeast Missouri last season. Saturday’s game is set to tip off at 1 p.m. from Lantz Arena.


Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].