MURRAY — “Newman loses it with five seconds to play! Burpo over to Macey! Lays it in! 2.2 to play. No timeouts and that will do it! The Racers win 61-59! Burpo with the steal and Turley with the finish and the Racers have won four in a row.”
That was the call of the final seconds of the Murray State women’s game in Evansville by Jeremy Rose on 1340 WNBS as the Racers continued their winning ways.
It’s the first 5-2 start for Racers since 13-14 and only second since 07-08. Those two losses came against two teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation too.
Against Evansville, the Racers led 22-11 after the first quarter of play but were outscored in the rest of the quarters. Still, the lead they built was enough on the end and the resiliency kept them from folding in the final seconds.
Head coach Rechelle Turner said this group proved once again tonight that they are true winners with the way they competed when things weren’t going their way.
“When you have players on your team that know how to win and they are winners, then somehow you pull out games when you’re not shooting the ball very well and not making very good decisions,” Turner said.
“It was a great game and when you fill your team with kids that are going to play until the bitter end and they’re not going to quit regardless of the circumstances, then good things happen to you and that’s exactly what happened. We had plenty of opportunities we could’ve hung our head, but we just continued to battle through that adversity. It wasn’t a very well-played game played us by any means.”
The Racers were led in scoring by Turley once again but no basket was bigger than her layup with 2.2 seconds left that gave her 19 for the game and her team the win. Burpo, who assisted on the game-winner, led the team in rebounds with 10, had eight points, and four assists. She was called upon to play a little bit of point guard last night when Turley had to exit the game with calf cramps.
In the second half, Evansville started to chip away at the lead, and by the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, the lead had all but disappeared. With just 43 seconds left in the game, Jada Poland connected on a jumper after a mad scramble and gave her squad their first lead since the early stages of the game.
“We put our best defensive lineup on the floor that we could,” Turner said. “They just found a way. The possession that they (Evansville) took the lead, the ball was fumbled all over the place, and the kid picks it up at the end of the shot clock and makes the shot. But, we came down and when I put Macie Gibson back in I said, ‘Rebound like your life depended on it, because we have got to have you on the glass,’ and that was the biggest offensive rebound and putback of her career.”
Gibson tied the game on her putback with just 31 seconds left. The Racers trotted back on defense and prepared to lock down on that end. Anna Newman attempted a dribble-drive and the ball was poked free, right into the hands of Burpo. She took off down the court with a two on one fast break and gave it up to Turley who finished with an acrobatic layup from the left side. That play signified what winning basketball looks like and Turner wasn’t shocked in the least.
“We go down and we make a great stop and I’ve seen Burpo and Turley make that play on the fast break 1,000 times,” Turner said. “As soon as I saw Burpo had the ball in her hands and I saw Macey out front, I thought, ‘Good things are going to happen here.’”
On a side note, Turley missed a free throw in the second quarter and that put an end to a streak of 28 consecutive made three throws, the 5th longest streak in program history. She was 6-7 from the free-throw line.