CLARKSVILLE, TN — Another road game and another road loss for the Murray State Racers’ women’s basketball team. They controlled the early portion of the game against Austin Peay and led through three quarters of play, but lost 69-61 to fall out of the tournament as the standings sit now.
It was solid gameplan from the Governors (14-10, 5-8) as they looked to wear down the Racers (11-13, 4-9) with multiple bodies and a game-long full court press. It paid off in the long run as the Racers ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. Defensively they were tired and after allowing less than 20 points in each of the first three quarters, they were blitzed for 26 in the deciding final 10 minutes.
“I thought 32 of the 40 minutes we controlled the game, but in the end, it is what it is,” Turner said. “They played 12 kids and we just don’t have that luxury right now. We made some mental mistakes defensively and offensively, that may be due to fatigue, but there are just things we cannot do in close games like this. Credit to Austin Peay, they made the plays they had to and made big shots when they needed to.”
In the first half, the Racers handled the press fairly well, even without Alexis Burpo, who picked up two quick fouls and headed to the bench just three minutes into the first quarter.
“I thought that for the most part in the first half we handled their pressure extremely well,” Turner said. “In the second half, I guess as time went on, we didn’t handle it as well...It puts a toll on your kids when they are having to play 94-feet the whole entire game.”
With the game decided by just eight points, one stat stands out among the rest and that’s points off of turnovers. The Governors scored 18 points on 15 turnovers, while the Racers got zero on six turnovers.
“One of our stats every game is we’ve got to keep them below 30 points on turnovers and second-chance points, and they were at 34,” Turner said. “Most of those came in the second half...I thought defensively and offensively we did a really good job for about 32 minutes.”
Even with the loss, the Racers still control their own destiny in regards to making the OVC tournament as one of the top eight teams. With that said, they have a lot to take from this loss and carry into the next game that is positive.
“I think you have to take all of the positives that you can,” Turner said. “These kids were giving everything they’ve got, we just had a lot of adversities. The effort that they gave today and the product they put on the floor today is something that will make Murray State women’s basketball proud. When you’re playing on fumes like our kids are and still giving that effort and doing what we ask them to do, our kids are fighters and we’re going to overcome this.”
Three players finished in double digits for the Racers, led by Laci Hawthorne’s 15 points and nine rebounds. Turley scored 11 and had seven rebounds from the point guard position. Burpo added 10 with nine rebounds, and Macie Gibson had nine points and seven rebounds.